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Full text of "A Study to Determine Whether "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" would have been Intelligible to Chaucer"

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Beryl Rowland 

Edmonton, Alber ta 
Sept. 15, 1958. 

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Sept. 15. 1958 


Introduction. 1-4 

Chaucer's Life and Character. 5-23 

The Problem of Dialect. 24-36 

The Vocabulary of Gawain and the Green Knight.37-114 

Hunting Terms....47-58 

Fashion Terms ....59-64 

Building Terms...... 64- 67 

Other Words from Old French. 68-72 

Poetic Diction. 72-82 

Other Words from Old English...82-90 

Words of Scandinavian Origin.90-98 

’Disputed 1 Words .. 99-114 

Conclusion. .. 115-121 

B ibliogr aphy.. 122- 140 


This thesis examines the validity of the 
statements of various scholars that Chaucer would not 
have been able to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , 
because of problems of dialect and vocabulary. 

A study of Chaucer*s career indicates that 
his various duties as a public servant, courtier and 
diplomat may have familiarized him with a large vocab¬ 
ulary and brought him into contact with speakers of 
various dialects. While the authorship of S ir Gawain 
and the Green Knight is unknown, the suggested date 
and circumstances of the poem may even have enabled 
Chaucer to read it. In his own writings Chaucer shows 
an awareness of contemporary works in different dialects 
as well as an ability to manipulate dialects for artist¬ 
ic purposes. Analogues are examined and the evidence 
indicates that Chaucer may have read the homilies and 
romances such as Sir Beves in the dialect of the South 
West, Sir Perclvel in the North, Guy of Warwick in the 
South East Midland, Sir Tristrem in the North West Mid¬ 
land or North, and other works where many words used by 
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , but not found in 

Chaucer’s works, occur. 

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A study of the dialect of Sir Gawain and 
the Green Knight and of Chaucer*s works reveals that the 
differences are not sufficient to suggest that Chaucer 
would have had difficulty in reading it. 

As far as vocabulary is concerned, of two 
thousand, six hundred and ninety-three words examined in 
Sir Gawain,and the Green Knight , four hundred and seventeen 
are not found in Chaucer*s works. The four hundred and 
seventeen words are examined in groups of hunting, fashion 
and building terms, other words from Old French, * poetic* 
diction, words from Old English, words of Scandinavian 
origin and * disputed* words. An investigation of the 
derivation of the words, their use in context and by other 
writers in the period provides evidence to indicate that 
Chaucer might have been able to translate three hundred 
and fifty-seven words. 

At the conclusion, a study of excerpts 
from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , with words not 
found in Chaucer*s works underlined, shows that, for 
reasons stated, Chaucer would have had very little 
difficulty in understanding Sir Gawain and the Green 

■oT^o a s-xa- 




Various scholars have maintained that 

Chaucer would have been unable to read GGK . Kemp Malone, 

for example, states: "If Chaucer had tried to read it, 

he would have tried in vain, one must suspect, although 

the Gav/ain poet was a contemporary of his. Certainly 

he would have needed a glossary, not to be had in those 


J.P. Oekden says that the vocabulary 

of GGK would have constituted a difficulty for a London 

audience in general: "...It is most unlikely that a 

London audience, for example, would have comprehended 

such a poem as Sir Gawain, owing to the large number 

of Scandinavian and local words with which they would 

toe unacopiainted." 

1. Kemp Malone, Chapters on Chaucer, John Hopkins 
Press, Baltimore, ±9 1 1, p. 2CT. 

2. J.P. Oakden, Alliterative Poetry in Middl e 
English , Manchester University Press, 1S35, 
ii, p. 192. 


. . ... 






Where Malone and Oak den call particular 
attention to the difficulties of vocabulary, H.S. 

Bennett stresses the dialectal problem: "We have no 
evidence that works such as Pearl or Sir Gawain and 
the Green Knight ever came his way or that he igould 
have coped with their difficult dialectal problems even 


O . 

had they done so. 11 

Henry Bradley considers Chaucer would have 
had difficulty in reading not only GGK but poems written 
in regions other than the West Midlands. He writes: 

“In spite of the nearness of Canterbury to London, it 
is probable that Chaucer would not have found it quite 
easy to read the Ayenbite of Inwyt ....nor would he have 
felt much more ait home with the writings of his con¬ 
temporaries among the West Midland poets or those of 


Northern poets like Laurence Minot." 

3. K.S. Bennett, Chaucer and the Fifteenth Century , 
Oxford History of Literature, Oxford University 
Press, 1947, vol. ii, part i, p. 10. 

4. Henry Bradley, Changes in the Language to the 
Days of Chaucer , Cambridge History of English 
Literature, Macmillan, 1920, i, p. 379. 


Hjgv I 




Except for John Speirs, no one appears to 
have challenged such statements, despite the hint of reservat¬ 
ion in the phrases ’one must suspect’, 1 it is most unlikely’, 
’it is probable 1 . 

Speirs argues that if Chaucer could under¬ 
stand poems in other languages, there is no reason to suppose 
he could not have understood poems in English dialects other 
than his own. 

Appearing to have Oakden’s statement in 

mind, he adds: 

’’There seems little reason to doubt that 

Sir Gawavn_and the Green Knight could have been 

understood in London. Fourteenth century London 
must have been full of soldiers, clerics and 
craftsmen from all over England. Is it likely 
that the nobles of the North West Midlands 
(who must have formed an important part of the 
audience for such poems as Sir Gawavn and the 
Grene Knight ) were not familiar enough visitors 
to the Royal Court? It is arguable that the 
medieval dialects were less different from one 
another than are (if written down phonetically) 
the modern dialects of Essex, Devon, Cornwall, 
Lancashire. There must have been tremendous 
scribal activity, both clerical and lay, for 
only a fraction of their copies can be reason¬ 
ably supposed to have survived; and the scribes, 
we know, were able and apt to change a text from 
its original form into the dialect of their own 
community; there are also ’border-line’ cases 
of texts in intermediate forms, for dialects 
in practice were not the water-tight compart¬ 
ments of the text-books, but, being living 
speech, must have blended and must have shaded 
off one another by degrees,.... Robert Henryson 
in Scotland evidently had no difficulty in read¬ 
ing and enjoying Chaucer.” 

5. John Speirs, Chaucer The Maker , Faber & Faber, 1951, 
p. 214. 


While the views of Malone, Oakden, Bradley 


and Bennett are shared by other scholars, detailed 
evidence supporting those views has never been given. 
Speirs' challenging of Bennett*s observations, on 
the other hand, consists of rather general and, to 
some extent at least, arguable suppositions. 

It seems reasonable, therefore, to examine 
in detail all the evidence that can be produced to 
decide to what degree GGK would have been intelligible 
to Chaucer. To begin with, some discussion of 
Chaucer's life and character is of considerable im¬ 
portance in order to determine the extent of his 
knowledge both of the contemporary linguistic scene 
and of native writers. 

6. W.J. Courthope, A History of English Poetry , 
Macmillan 2 London, 1895, i, p. 351: "His 
(the Gawam poet's) archaic methods of metrical 
diction must exclude him from the list of those 
who can be in any intelligible sense styled 
English poets. 11 

J.W. Clark, Early English , Andre Deutsch, London, 
p. 143: "We must not forget. .. . Sir Gswain and 
t he Green Knight and Pearl , the latter of which, 
at least, would probably, with its unashamed 
other worldliness and sustained elevation, have 
abashed and disconcerted Chaucer who, such was 
the difference in dialect, could hardly have 
read it with much understanding." 



Chaucer 1 s Life and Character* 


As John Livingstone Lowes has pointed out, 
no other English poet has approached Chaucer in the 
breadth and variety of his immediate personal experience 
of life. 


Born in the V in try at Thames Street, London, 


he was possibly educated at some time at the Inner Temple 

and by 1357 was certainly a page in the household of the 

Countess of Ulster, wife of Lionel, third son of Edward 

III. He was in France by the age of sixteen, taken 


prisoner and ransomed by the King in 1360. He was 
subsequently in the service first of Prince Lionel 

7. J.L. Lowes, The Art of Geoffrey Chaucer , Sir Israel 
Gollancz Memorial Lecture, from the Proceedings of 
the British Academy, Humphrey Milton, London, 1930, 
xvi, p. 4. 

8. B.E.G. Kirk, L ife Kecords of Chaucer, iv , Kegan 
Paul, Trench and Trubner, London, 1900, p. xii ff. 

9. J.M. Manly, Some Hew Light on Chaucer , Smith, New 
York, 3.950, p. 30. J.S.P. Tatlock, The Mind and 
Art of Chaucer , Syracuse University Press, 1956, 

p. 5. 

10. Edwara A. Bond, Life Records of Chaucer, iii, 
Trubner and Co., 1886,' p. 102. 

11. B.E.G. Kirk, Op. Cit., p. 265. 


... . . .... 

• • 


and then of the King on whose "behalf, between 1370 and 

1378 alone, he undertook no less then seven diplomatic 


missions in Flanders, France end Italy. In 1368 he was 
granted a passport from Dover and apparently went abroad, 
on unknown business and in 1369 he was again on military 
service in France. 

Further diplomatic missions followed but mean¬ 
while, in 1374, he had been appointed Comptroller of Customs 

and Subsidy of Wools, Skins and Hides in the Port of London, 


and later of the Petty Customs on wines and other merchandise. 
Acquiring land in Kent in 1375, he became Justice of the 
Peace ten years later and in 1386 Knight of the Shire, sitt¬ 
ing in Westminster. From 1389-91 he was Clerk of the King*s 
Works and in 1390 was one of a commission of six appointed 
to "s urvey the walls, ditches, sewers, bridges.on the 

12. F.N. Robinson, C omplete Works of Chaucer , Houghton 
Mifflin, Cambridge, Mass., 1933, p. xvi, points out 
that some information about Chaucer’s service during 
the years 1360-7 is lacking. A study of the documents 
in R.E.G. Kirk, Op. Cit., p. 155-60, confirms Robin¬ 
son's observation. 

13. See Tatlock, Op. Cit., p. 11. Robinson, Op. Cit ., 
p. xviii. R.E.G. Kirk, Op. Cit ., p. 191. 





coast of the Thames between Greenwich and Woolwich, to 


inquire by whose default the y havebeen suffered to decay*.. 

He was also sub-forester and later forester in control of 


the royal forest domain of Petherton in Somerset. 

He was associated with the management of great estates and 

by 1393 he was involved in sufficient litigations to ask for 


and secure Royal indemnity for two years. When he died in 

1400 he would, had he never written a line of poetry, have 

been remembered by his contemporaries as a many-sided man 


of affairs and a capable public servant. 

14. R.L.G. Kirk, Op. Git ., p. 2$4. 

15. See W.D. Selby, Life Records of Chaucer iii ,Chaucer 
as Forester of North Petherton, Co. Somerset, Pub. 
by Trubner and Co. 1336, p. 121. Russell Krauss 
Three Chaucer Studies , Oxford University Press, 
p. 124. Manly, On. Cit . r p. 33. 


16. See documents in R.E.G. Kirk, Op. Cit ., p. 322. 

. See J.L. Lowes, Op. Cit., p. 5. 



Much has been written on Chaucer’s cultural 


attainments. He had a scholarly and extensive knowledge 
of medieval and such classical Latin writers that were 

available, of French and Italian literature which he 


further developed in his travels abroad. Moreover 


His reading in Latin, French and Italian and the extent 

18. J*L. Lowes, 0 p_. Cit . ? p. 12, provides an excellent 
summary of Chaucer’s reading. See also George A. 
Plimpton, The Education of Chaucer , Oxford 
University Press, 1934, p. 167 ff. 

19. T.R. Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer , Osgood, London, 
1892, i, p. 67, suggests - on the strength of the 
Clerk’s introductory remark to the tale of Griselda - 
that Chaucer met Petrarch. But arguments against 
this suggestion have been given by F.J. Mather, 
M.L.N., 1896-7, xi, xii, p, 64 * 

20. T.F. Lounsbury, O p. Cit ., ii, p. 204, shows that 
Chaucer occasionally mistakes the sense of his 
originals. But Lounsbury also acknowledges Chaucer’s 
linguistic ability. 






of his travels and intercourse indicate a facility in 
languages which is of some significance in considering 
Chaucer 1 s ability to cope with dialectal differences 
in his own tongue. 

In England, Chaucer 1 s duties clearly 
provided him with facilities to extend his vocabulary 
far beyond that which reflected the social life and 
accomplishments of a member of the Court. His customs 
appointment would demand a familiarity with terms 
connected with wines, wools, hides and other merchand¬ 
ise. His later duties, which included engaging labor 
and building materials for repairing St. George 1 s 

chapel, erecting scaffolding for tournaments at Smith- 

field in 1390, supervising repair of waterways and of 

forest control, must have acquainted him with building 

terms and other specialized terminology. As Justice of 

the Peace, Knight of the Shire and litigant, he would 

have acquired a knowledge of legal jargon. His vocabul 

ary has been estimated at over eight thousand words, 


nearly twice as large as that of Gower’s. 

21. See J.S.P. Tatlock, Op. Cit ., p. 14. 

22. See H.S. Bennett, Op, Cit ., p. $3 and J.P. Mersand 
Chaucer 1 s Romance Vocabulary , Comet Press, New 
York, 1937, p. 137. 





Chaucer’s duties outlined above would 
have brought him into contact with a wide variety of 
people of all classes and occupations. Enough has been 
written about the realism in Chaucer’s works, illustrat¬ 
ing his remarkable knowledge of how people in many 
different stratas of society lived and thought, to 
indicate that his attitude was totally unlike that of 

a professional civil servant as conceived of today. 


As Lowes points out, the man who between nightfall and 

bedtime had spoken to everyone of the nine-and twenty 

pilgrims at the Tabard Inn was not the man to refrain 

from incidental conversation with the mariners whose 

lawful occasions brought them to his quay, or, for that 


matter, anyone else. 

23. J.L. Lowes, Op. Cit ., p. 12. 

24. Chaucer’s duties as J.P. in Kent, for example, must 
have brought him into contact with many kinds of 
people. Documents in H.E.G. Kirk. Op. Git ., 

p. xxxiii, outline those duties as follows: ,f to 
take sureties from any person using threats of 
bodily injury against others or of burning their 
houses and to inquire and adjudge in respect of 
felonies, trespasses, forestallers, regreaters, 
extortions, unlawful meetings, persons going and rid¬ 
ing about armed or lying in wait to maim or kill, the 
giving of liveries, innkeepers, victuallers, abuses of 
weights and measures and defaulting workmen, artificers 
and servants who were to be fined or submitted to 
corporal punishment.” 




r . ■ 


" wM 



As a result, he must have heard not only terms connected 
with different trades but a variety of dialects. For 
there was considerable movement of population after the 
Black Death, not only among various Church representat¬ 
ives, tradespeople and charlatans but also of the villein 

class. These men, then, must have been among those to 
whom Chaucer talked in the course of his work and from 
whom he would hear a variety of dialects. 

His travels in England must have supple¬ 
mented Chaucer*s knowledge of vocabulary and dialect. 

T he Prologue to the Canterbury Tale s gives an unmistake- 
able feeling of the traveller*s delight at being on his 
way that suggests a keen personal liking for travel, and 
it is possible that Chaucer*s journeys were more frequent 

and extensive than records indicate. He was at Hatfield 


with Prince Lionel’s household in 135&* 

25. See G.C. Coulton, The Medieval Village , Cambridge 
University Press, 1925, p. 137* 

26 . See E. Bond, Op. Cit ., p. 102 



Walter Rye provides a good case for 


Chaucer 1 s family having spent some time in Norfolk. Manly 

concurs with Rye’s view and suggests that Chaucer may have 

been deputized to survey the waste on the Pembroke estate. 

He also considers that the accuracy of the local color 

both of Oxford in the Miller T s Tale and of Cambridge in 

the Reeve T s_,Tale attest to Chaucer’s familiarity with both 

places. Chaucer’s associations with North Petherton and 

Kent presumably required him to spend much time one hundred 

and forty miles from Greenwich while he retained his Kent 

resident, and as Clerk of the Works, he travelled to areas 


as far apart as Berkhampstead and the New Forest. 

27. Walter Rye,Ibid. (Appendix) pp. 131-135. 

23. J.M. Manly, Op. Cit ., p. 92. 

29. J.M. Manly, Ibid. p. 100. 

30. See documents in R.B.G. Kirk, Op. Pit ., p. 275. 


The knowledge Chaucer acquired by word 

of mouth must have been supplemented by his reading. He 

probably read more widely than any evidence can prove 

but F. Tupper has pointed out some interesting analogues 

to the tavern scene in the Pardoner 1 s Tale which exist in 

Avenbite of Inwvt f suggesting that the Kentish text far 


from being difficult for Chaucer as Bradley indicated 

had been read by him. Chaucer may also have read Gower f s 

xfork-s which, though they present no dialectal problem, 

33 34 

contain over 600 words not used by Chaucer. Scholars 
have noted many parallels between the works of Gower and 

31. F. Tupper, J.E.G.P ., 1914, xiii, pp. 553-65. 

32. See p. 2. 

33. See G.G. Macaulay, The Complete Works of John Gower , 
Oxford Clarendon Press, 1902, iii, p* 554. 

34. G.H. Maynadier, The Wife of Bath ! s Tale . Grimm 
Library, London, 1901,xiii, p. 33, notes parallels 
between the W.B.T . and Gower ! s Tale of Florent. 

James Work, Sources and Analogues of Chaucer 1 s 
Canterbury Tales , ed. by W.F. Bryant and G. Dempster, 
University of Chicago Press, 1941, p. 709, cites 
Gower’s Phoebus and Coronis as an analogue to the 
Haunciple’s Tale but adds: "As long as the dates of 
Chaucer 1 s and Gower’s stories remain unfixed, their 
relationship must remain uncertain." Both M. Sohlauch, 
Chaucer’s Constance and the Accused Queen T New York 

University Press, 1927, p. 134 and E. Lucke, Das Leben 
der Constanze bei Trivet , Gower and Chaucer, Anglia, 
xiv, 1892, pp. 77-112 & 149-185, q^gue that Chaucer 
read certain of Gower’s works before writing his own. 
Macaulay, 0 d. Cit . ii p. xxvii, thinks that Chaucer 
wrote his first. 




It is also likely that Chaucer not only 

heard the itinerant preachers but read the homilies which, 

according to Owst, were widely circulated. 

Of even more significance for our study 

is Chaucer*s apparent knowledge of the metrical romances. 

While one cannot overlook the possibility that he may 


have received these orally, the technical details of his 

brilliant parody of the romances in Sir Thopas suggest he 

may have read them in manuscript. According to Mrs. L.H. 

Loomis, Chaucer may have read or glanced at fifteen to 
twenty of the one hundred and thirteen manuscripts that 
are still extant. 

35* G.R. Owst, Literature and the Pulpit in Mediaeval 
England -T Cambridge University Press, 1933, p* 230, 
suggests that the Parson*s Tale T the Epilogue and 
many of the pilgrims themselves were drawn from the 

36 . See A.K. Moore, Sir Thopas as a Criticism of Fourt ¬ 
eenth Century Minstrels , J.E.G.P. 1954, liii, p. 532. 
The use minstrels made of the romances is illustrated 
by Robert Mannyng*s remark regarding the mutilation 
of Sir Tristrem by the *sayers*. 

But I here it no man say 

That of some copple some is away. 

Chronicle . Prologue ii, 101-2. 

37. L.H. Loomis, The Tale of Sir Thopas , Sources and 
Analogues of Chaucer*s Canterbury Tales, ed. by W.F. 
Bryant & G. Dempster, University of Chicago Press, 
1941, p» 4B$- 




• • • 


The romances that Chaucer mentions in Sir 

Thopas are Hornchild , Ipotvs , Sir Beves T Guv of Warwick 

and Libeaus Desconnus . In To Rosemounde , he refers to 

Sir Tristrem and there are indications that he may have 

used the romances in the tales of the Clerk, the Franklyn, 

3 $ 

the Man of Law, the Wife of Bath and the Merchant. 

3$. G* Kane, Middle English Literature . Methuen, London, 
1951, P* 55, cites Chaucer 1 s use of verse romances 
in the Tales , and adds: Tt In order to have so fully 
at his command the material of this literary kind, 
Chaucer must have had more than a superficial 
acquaintance with it. Tt 

Bartlett J. Whiting, The Wife of Bath*s Prologue , 

Sources and Analogues, Op. Cit ., p. 223, and Germain 
Dempster and J.S.P. Tatlock, The Franklin 1 s Tale , 

Ibid. p. 3$5, give verse romance analogues for the 

J.Do Sutton, P*M*L»A *» 1916, xxiv, p. 114 ff. points 
out Chaucer T s close familiarity with King Horn . Bevis . 
Guv and Sir Perceval of Gales . 

R*M. Smith/ M.L.N ., 1936, li, p* 314-17, states that 
Chaucers familiarity with medieval romances is seen 
in many of his tales besides Sir Thopas and that it is 
futile to attempt to trace any of its passages, except 
the interrupted last stanza, to any single source* 

L. H. Loomis, Chaucer and the Breton Lavs of the 
Auchinleck . Studies in Philology, 1941, xxxviii, p.14 
ff., The Auchinleck and a possible London Bookshop of 

1330-3.340, P.M.L.A., lvii, p. 595-627, Chaucer and the 
Auchinleck M*S., Essays and Studies in Honor of Gar let on 
Brown, University Press, New York, 1940, pp.111-128, 
suggests that Chaucer had access both to the Auchinleck 

M. S. and to some fourteenth century prototype of the 
Cotton Caligula A II containing Ypotis , Libeaus 
Desconnus and the Trentals of St. Gregory and the Life 
of St. Jerome (xvhich would account for the diverting 
’romances of popes and cardinals 1 in Sir Thopas ). 










t - < 



If Chaucer did read the romances, he would 

have needed a knowledge of dialects to do so. In the MSs 


extant, Hornehild is possibly North Midland, Sir Beves 

South West, Guv of Warwick South East Midland, Sir Perceval 

North, Sir Tristrem North West Midland or North, Libeaus 

Desconnus South East and Ipotvs originally between East 

Midland and the South East but not from Kent. 


Trounce has urged that the tail-rhyme romances 
represent an East Midland school of the fourteenth century 
tf as definite as that of the West Midland ?t . It seems reason¬ 
able to suppose that Chaucer’s interest would not be confined 
to one school only and that he would read the West Midland 
poets with equal interest. The question therefore arises 
whether there is any evidence to indicate that Chaucer did, 
in fact, read GGK and whether, as far as can be established, 
circumstances would have made it possible for him to do so. 

39. J. Caro, E.S . 1888-9, xii, p. 342, assigns Hornchild to 
the southern part of N. England near the E.M. boundaries. 
On dialects for works cited see also J.E. Wells, 

A Manual of Writings in Middle English . Yale University 
Press, 1916, p. 5., and L.H. Hibbard (Loomis), Mediaeval 
Romance in England , Oxford University Press, 1924, pp. 
.97, 116, (for Sir Beves and Guy of Warwick). 

40. A. Trounce, The English Tail-rhyme Romances. Medium 

Aevium, i-iii, p. 168. 


The date of GGK has not been definitely fixed. 


Hulbert suggests GGK was possibly written to commemorate 

some unrecorded Round Table held by a Mortimer whose 

family held important estates in Wales. He points out 

that the ! Order of the Collar’ was founded by the 1 Green* 

Count of Savoy in 1362, and Oto de Granson, son of one of 

the founders and a friend of Chaucer, could have brought 

the story to England when he became one of John of Gaunt’s 

retinue in 1374. Gollancz has suggested that GGK may 

have been associated with the founding of the Order of 


the Garter in 1345. 

Basing their evidence on references to costume, 

architecture and customs and on the language of GGK , most 

scholars place the date of composition in the last quarter 
of the fourteenth century. On the basis of date, therefore, 
it would have been possible for Chaucer to have read GGK » 

41. J.K. Hulbert, M.P# , 1916, xiii, pp. 134-140 & 461. 

42. Sir I. Gollancz, Pearl, Chatto and Wincius, 1921, p. xxxvi 

43. J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, Sir Gswain and the Green 
Knight, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1925, p. xx, state that 
the most definite indication that the poem cannot be 
earlier than the last quarter of the century is in the 
sabatoun3 which Gewain wears. Even then they were not 

in general use. Emile Pons, Sire Gauvain et Le Chevalier 
Vert, Aubier, Paris, 1946, p. 45, on^the basis^of lan¬ 
guage, architecture, possible historical allusion and 
the word cap ados , puts the date around 1380. See 
also Oakden.O B. CM. ., tv p. 86, and Mabel Day, Intro- 
auction to Sir Gawain and the Green Knigiii:; ~by bir - 1 -* 
Gollancz, Early English Text Society, 210, 1940. 







It has been suggested by Hulbert and accepted 

by Miss Everett that GGK and the alliterative poems were 

deliberately fostered by some great family of the West as 

a rival to the poetry of the London court. Chaucer, though 

a diplomat and civil servant, was closely associated with 

the royal family at whose request he wrote poems and recited 

at court. His poems often commemorated some special event. 


Artistic work from a rival in a noble household is hardly 

likely to have escaped Chaucer’s notice, particularly if, 

4 $ 

as Gordon Hall Gerould suggests, the GGK poet was motivated 
by the lofty desire to do for his own dialect what Dante had 
done for Tuscany. 

44• J#H. Hulbert, A Hypothesis Concerning; the Alliterative 
Revival, P.M.L.A., 1931, xxviii, p. 405-422. 

45. D. Everett, Essays on Middle English Literature , Oxford 
Clarendon Press, 1955, p. 4$® 

46 . See A. Brusendorff, The Chaucer Tradition f Humphrey 
Milford, London 1924, p® 44$ f. 

47. See Gollancz, On. Cit . f p. xliii, and the Cambridge 
History of Literature , Cambridge University Press, 

190$, i, p. 36$; C.O. Ghapman, The Musical Training 
of the Gawain Poet , P.M.L.A., 1931, xlvi, p„ 1$1; 

Tolkien and Gordon, Op. Cit .. p. xx; J. Speirs, Chaucer 
the Maker , Faber and Faber, London, 1951, p® 215. These 
scholars agree that the Gaxvain poet was associated with 
some great household. Wells, Op. Cit ., Supplement 7, 

p. 15o2, remarks that Dr. Savage promised a book in 193$, 
supporting his proposal that GGK was written for the 
marriage of_Enguerrand de Courcy and Isabella, daughter 
of Edward III f or about the time of de Courcy 1 s 
departure for the French court. 

4$. G.H. Gerould, The Gawain Poet and Dante - a Conjecture, 
P.M.L.A., 1936 , li, pp. 31-36o 










It is not even beyond possibility that Chaucer 

may have met the poet. Strode to x^hom, along with Gower, 

Chaucer dedicated Troilus and Crisev-de ? is among those 


who have been suggested as a possible author of GGK . Or, 
since Chaucer was associated with John of Gaunt for many 


years, he may have met him through his patron. For Oakden 
suggests that the GGK poet was connected with John of Gaunt T s 
household and that the castle he described was Clitheroe 
which belonged to Gaunt. 

That Chaucer was aware of the Alliterative School 

is clear from his works. Just as he knew of the f drasty 

52 53 

rhyming 1 of the romances, so he knew of the ! rum-ram-ruf 1 

of the alliterative writers. 

49* Gollancs, Pearl . 1921 p. xlvii and Cambridge History of 
Literature T i, p. 367, favors Strode but he does not 
reiterate his conclusions in the 1940 edition of Pearl . 

F. Madden, Svr Gawavne . Bannantyne Club, 1839, P# 302-4, 

G. Neilson, Huchown of the Awle Rvale . Athenaeum, June 1 
- Oct* 26 , 1901 and H.N. MacCracken, Concerning Huchown ? 
P.M.L.A. xxv, p. 50? all identify the author of GGK 
with Huchown. _0 . t Cargill and M. Schlauch, The Pearl and 
its Jeweller , P.M.L.A. 1928 , xliii, p. 105, propose 
John Pratt or John Donne. C.O. Chapman, The Authorship 
of Pear l, P.M.L.A., 1932, xlvii, p. 346-53, accepting 
Yorkshire as the most likely area for the alliterative 
poems, identifies the author with John de Erghone, an 
Augustine friar of York who died in 1390. 

50. See Russell Krauss, Three Chaucer Studies . Oxford 
University Press, 1932, p. 137# 

51. Oakden, Op. Cit ., i, p. 261. 


52. The Host, B , 2113, The Complete Works of Chaucer , 
Robinson Edition, Op. Cit . 

53# The Parson 1 s Prologue, I, 43# 


r „ • f 





Everett points out that Chaucer 1 s remark on 

the Alliterative School was not intended to be disparaging. 

He was merely stating that the school was from the North 

whereas he was from the South. One might go even further 

than Everett and suggest Chaucer f s assigning the alliterative 

writings to the North as distinct from the South indicates 

a definite familiarity with the contemporary school. For if 

the Old English alliterative tradition persisted strongest 


in the South West Midlands as Oakden contends, the term 


Northern would not be appropriate. 

Further indication of Chaucer 1 s awareness of the 


alliterative tradition occurs in his writings. Bennett 

draws attention to Chaucer f s use of alliterative tags and 

5 $ 

Oakden points out that out of three hundred and fifty 

54. 0. Everett, Op, Cit .. p. 48. 

55. J.P. Oakden, Op. Cit ., i, p. 243* 

56. For evidence on the continuance of the O.E. alliterative 
tradition, see Max. Kaluza, A Short History of English 
Versification , George Allen, London, 1919, p. 126; 

D. Everett, Op. Cit .. p. 46 ; Wells, Op. Cit ., p, 240; 
and Kenneth Sisam, Fourteenth Century Prose and Verse , 
Oxford Clarendon Press , 1921, p. xviii. 

57. H.S. Bennett, Op. Cit ., p. 85 . 

5$. J.P. Oakden, Allit. Poetry in M.E ., ii, p. 365 . 

* 5 * 

• * t < 


alliterative phrases in Chaucer T s works, two hundred and 

ten are found in the alliterative school. Some, Oakden 

remarks, are such as might be found in any representative 

Middle English work but others such as rome or rvde , holte 

and heethe and cost and care are found elsewhere only in 

the alliterative writers. 

Moreover, certain resemblances between GGK and 

Chaucers Squired Tale have led scholars to speculate 

whether they are more than coincidental. 

In each story, a king is sitting in a hall, 

celebrating a special feast-day with his knights, the 

festive board before him. After oneof the courses, a 

knight appears in remarkable fashion and everyone falls 

quiet for T merveille of this knight ? in the Squire f s Tale , 

and ! al stounded at his steuen and stonstil seten ? in GGK , 

The courtiers associate their guest with fairyland and in 

both tales there is a reference to Troy. 

It may be that both the Gawain Poet and Chaucer 


were working from a French original, now lost. 

59, Tolkien and Gordon, Op, Git ., p. xiv; G.L, Kittredge, 
iL Jit u_dy_oiL G^waiix _and v the Green Knight , Harvard 
University Press, 1916, p. 314; P,G, Thomas, English 
Literature Before Chaucer , Arnold, London, 1924, p, 132, 
agree that such a work existed but Mabel Day, Op. Git ,, 
p. xxxi, reserves judgement and Dr. von Schaubert, B,S. , 
lvii. p. 394, disagrees. Hulbert, M.P ., 1915, xiii, 
pp. 49-7$ ana pp. 113-127, concludes that GGK was 
based on a fairy mistress tale. 

< ' 

r tfe 



t • 


It must also be pointed out that similarities in initial 
situation are common to several other romances such as 
Ywain and Gawain, Sir Perceval of Galles and The Turk 
and Gawain . But the resemblances between the Squire’s 

Tale and GGK are sufficiently striking to justify G.O. 

6'0 ' 

Chapman 1 s observation: 

"Different though the plots of these two 
poems are, there is such a marked agreement in 
the sequence of events, the scenes and occasions 
on which they occur, the conduct of the king’s 
courtiers, that it seems beyond the possibility 
of coincidence that Chaucer and the author of 
GGK could have worked in complete independence 
of one another." 

One might go even further than Chapman and see in Chaucer’s 

tale a possible allusion to GGK . In GGK , the Green Knight 

familiarly addresses King Arthur as ’fie’. In the Squire’s 

Tale, the knight correctly addresses the king in the 

plural ’yow’. Is Chaucer humorously alluding to the error 

of address in GGK when he says he ’kan nat clymben over so 
61 ‘ 

heigh a style’? 

60. C.O. Chapman, Chaucer and the Gawain Poet : A Conjecture , 
M.L.N . } 1953, lxviii, p. 521. 

61. C.T., F.106. 




Whatever the relationship between the two 

works may be, Chaucer clearly knew of the fame of court- 

eous Gawain. The Beheading Game, Chaucer probably read 

in such romances as Livre de Caradoc , Perlesvaus . 


Carle of Carlisle , La Mule Sans Frain and the Temptation 
he would have found in Yder and Le Chevalier a l f Epee , 

The Green Knight may even be the Green Man of folk song, 
with foundations in the mock beheading and restoring to 


life in the Morris dance, - the Green man whose name 
graces many English public houses, including one near 
Epping. It seems likely then, that many of the elements 
of the Gawain story would have been familiar to Chaucer 
and if he did read GGK such knowledge might have assisted 
him in understanding it. 

62. C.T., F. 95 s That Gawavn. with his olde curteisve . 
The Romaunt of the Rose, 2209-10: ... Gawevn, the 
worthy , was preised for his curtesy . 

63. These works are referred to by Mabel Day, Op. Cit ., 
p. xxvii ff # , Kittredge, Op. Git , p. 72 ff. 

Hulbert, M.P., 1916, xiii, p. 116 ff.' 

64 . See Kittredge, Op. Cit . p.- 196, and John Speirs, 
Medieval English Poetry , Faber and Faber, London, 
1957, p. 219, 


The Problem of Dialect. 

The question arises whether the dialectal 
ailicences are such that Chaucer might have had difficulty- 
in reading GGK. Oakden, after a very detailed analysis, 
concludes that GGK , Pearl , Purity and Patience from the 
MS. Cotton Kero A.X* were originally written in the N.W. 
Midland dialect from , an area comprising S. Lancashire 


and N.W. Derbyshire, "with no preference for either 11 . 

Baugh considers the language of Chaucer 
to represent 11 with enough accuracy" the dialect of London 
at the end of the fourteenth century and adds "it is pre¬ 
vailing Last Midland with some Southern and Kentish 

features" . 

An examination of the principal differences 
in the dialects of GGK and in Chaucer f s works is there¬ 
fore of value. It should be noted here that some variat¬ 
ions in Chaucer* s works may be due to copyists and we have 
nothing in Chaucer* s own handwriting. For the sake of 

convenience, however, the Hobinson edition is used for 

line references. 

65. Oakden, Op. Cit., i, p. 85. Different views are 
expressed by Hulbert, M.P. , 1921, xix, pp. 1-16, 

R.j. Menner, P.M.L.A . ,~Tff22, xxxvii, p. 503 et al. 

66. A.C. Baugh, A History of Apple- 

ton-Century-Crot'P, inc., 1957, p. 483. 

67. For further details of texts examined see p. 45, 
footnote 130, and pp. 129, 130. 




, ;,. v' , ' . 

- * 



In Chaucer, 0J2. a +- nasal was not rounded, 

- name rhymes with fame f H. of F . ? 1405* North and East 

Midland texts and Southern texts, with the exception of the 

Owl and the Nightingale which has both _o and a forms, usually 

have a. The West Midlands have a in the Southern portion 

of the area and o as the characteristic type in the Central 

and Northern parts. The dialect of the large region lying 

between the West and East Midland, the so-called Central 

Midlands, had apparently a in agreement with the Eastern 


type. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that in 

GGK o occurs in nine words one hundred and fifteen times 


and a in five words eight times*, GGK has nome (O.E. noma , 
nama ) in 10, 408, 937, 1347, 2443; name in 400, 2453- The 
rounded form would not cause Chaucer any difficulty 
because he sometimes uses it himself, eg. con (O.E. can ) 
beside can . 

In Chaucer O.E. a + 1 and consonant mutated 

becomes e f a feature which is common to most South, East 


Midland and Northern texts. Oakden, quoting Ekwall in 
Contributions to the History of O.E. dialects , 1917, puts 
the boundaries of the area 

68. See H.C. Wyld, A Short History of English ^ Murray, 
London, 1929 (Third Edition;, p. 112. 

69. See Oakden, On. Cit .. i, p. 73. 

70. Ibid., p. 15. 



s - 



as being the Ribble Valley, Mid-Derby, Staffs and the 

Severn Valley. It is to be expected, therefore, that GGK 

would have a but occasionally e. 

In Chaucer, -and is usually -ond . St 

occurs in C.T . t A 13. Oakden remarks that south of a 
line drawn through N. Salop and S. Lines - ond forms are 
usually found in local names, with rare -and forms due to 
late shortening. N. Derby, Notts., and Lines., have usually 
-and forms but in Cheshire and S. Lancs., -ond is the pre¬ 
vailing form. GGK has a in three words four times and o 


in ten words fifty-five times. In GGK „, 1203, hande 

rhymes with the present participle laSande but londe 

(O.E. lond ) appears in 411, 1055, 2440 etc. 

In Chaucer, O.E. -ang becomes -ong , as in 

strange . In GGK it is retracted to -ung as may be seen in 

34 where stronge rhymes with tonge (O.E. tunga). Accord- 

ing to Oakden, there is evidence in modern dialects that the 
retraction is found in Northern counties as far South as 
Cheshire, N. Staffs., N. Derby, Notts., and Lines. 



P. 17 



p. 17 



p. 17 

v • t %- 

< < 


Both Chaucer and GGK have O.E. j as i, 

u and e. In Chaucer, the usual East Midland development to 


j. is the most common and Baugh cites swich , C,T ., A 3; 

which, Cj/T, , A 4; first, C,T , , A. 6 . Kentish _e is noted 

in lest , C,T «, A 33 and possible evidence of the Western and 

Southwestern rounding in the u of Canterbury, C.T., A 16 

75 76 

and in much , C. T . , A 33* Oakden points out that Reaney ! s 
examination of two long passages in Chaucer resulted in u, 

1 and je occurring three, nineteen and four times respective¬ 
ly and u, 1 and e occurring eight, six and three times res- 


pectively. GGK , according to Oakden, has i. in seventy- 

seven words and two hundred and sixty-five occurrences, u 

in thirty-five words and one hundred and sixteen occurrences 

and e. in five words and eighteen occurrences. The e form, 


Oakden maintains, is not Kentish but is due to the lower¬ 
ing of M.E, i to e. He ascribes _i to the North and East Mid 
land while the South and West Midland retained the u form 
for some time. In GGK we have examples of the trend in the 
fourteenth century for the 1 form to prevail over the u form 

74. Baugh, Op. Cit ., p. 430. 


Hid., p. 430. 


Oakden, Op. Cit., 



Oakden, Ibid., p. 



Oakden, Ibid., p. 



O.E. a becomes o in Chaucer as in _so, C. T . , 

A 11, goon , C.T., A 12 and holy , C.T., A. 51. With the 
exception of The Owl and the Nightingale all the Southern 
texts have jo. In the West and N. West Midlands jd is usual, 
apart from Lavamon r and in the East Midlands, apart from 
Ormulum . jo is the usual form. In GGK, O.E. a usually 
appears as o, as in hol(l)e , 133$, more, 2281. 

O.E. aw and ah, as become ow in Chaucer, as 
“ 79 

in knowen from O.E. cnawan . Wright regards this as the 
normal development in dialects south of the Humber, although 
it must be noted that there are exceptions. Kent, as shown 
in the Ayenbite, retained jaw, jau. GGK has 31 aw f orms and 
24 jow forms, according to Oakden, and he deduces from the 
rhyming of knowe, 1647, with lawe (O.E. lagu from O.N.) that 
the poet was living in an area where 0 o S» Jw remained. 

79. <J. and E.M. Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar . 
Oxford University Press, 1928. p. 60. 

80. Oakden, Op. Cit ., p. 74 ff. 








i ■ ■ ' 




In both Chaucer and GGK , O.E. and O.N. 

o are spelled o in most cases, as in loken, O.E. locian. 


In GGK , Oakden takes as definite evidence that o does not 

become u, the imperfect rhyme wolde (O.E. wolde) 247$, 

rhyming with colde (O.E. cald ). There are, however, 

indications in both writers that the mid-back-tense vowel 


was being raised to a high back tense vowel. 

In most areas O.E. 'ae (West Germanic a) 
became a long close e while O.E. ae (the i-umlaut of a) 
remained a long slack e except in Kent where, according to 


Wright it already became a close e>. Chaucer has both 
tense and slack e in rhymes for ae (West Germanic a) while 
GGK has tense e as is indicated in 320 where were (O.E. 
waeron) rhymes with lere (O.E„ hieor ). 

51. Oakden, Ibid ., p. 74 ff. 

52. Wyld. Op. Cit . , p. 117. 

53. Wright, Op. Cit ., p 0 25. 

t J— . 




' ' . 


Before d,t,s,n,l,r, ae (the i-umlaut of a) 
is slack in Chaucer as is seen in clene (O.E. claene ) rhyming 
with sene (O.E. seon ), C.T . , A 134-5. GGK, on the other 
hand, has a tense e. Clene f 146 , rhymes with grene (O.E. 
greme ). 

In Chaucer, O.E. eo becomes £ as is seen in 
seke (O.E. seoc ), C.T ., A 13, cleped (O.E. cleopkn ), C.T . 

A 22, and depe (O.E. deope ), C.T ., A. 30. This is a feat¬ 
ure of all North and East Midland texts except Orm., and of 


all South texts except The Owl and the Nightingale . Oakden 
points out that certain West Midland texts have e while 
others have a rounded vowel written eo , ue, oe etc. In GGK 
eo appears normally as e* Dep(e) (O.E. de’ope) occurs in 
741, 736 etc. Examples of the rounded form also occur - 

rurde (O.E. reord) 1149, 1916, etc., and burn(e) (O.E. beorn) 

3T " _ — 

73, 20 etc. 

O.E. ea.consonant mutated is _e in all the 
North and East Midland texts and in most West Midland ones 
and as such appears in both Chaucer and GGK . 

34. Oakden, Op. Cit ., i, p. 25® 

35. Oakden, Ibid ., p. 77® 


.* • 

c c 


Hed (O.E. heafod ) rhymes with ded r H. of F . f i, 1072. GGK 

has hed(e ), 1$0, 236 etc. O.E. ea when shortened occurs as 

e in Chaucer, - which is a feature of North and East Midland 


texts and some West Midland. Oakden remarks that Notts., 

Staffs., and Derby have both a and _e, Salop a and Lancs. 

mostly a. Thus, while GGK has grete (O.E. great ), it has 

grattest T 207, as the superlative while Chaucer has grettest . 

In certain areas M.E. e2 from 0<*E o “eah , eag 

was raised to while other areas show a diphthong form 

ei3 . Chaucer has eigh and eye forms with rare ye forms which 

occur even in rhyme. Rye (O.E. heah ) rhymes with ye 

(O.E. eage ), H. of F ., iii, 1491, and high rhymes with sigh . 

Ho of F ., iii, 1430o In GGK e3, was raised to i3, as is seen 

3 $ 

in hy3e , 2037, rhyming with by (O.E. bi) 0 

36. Oakden, Ibid., p. 26 . 

37. Oakden, Ibid ., p. 27. 

33. Oakden, Ibid ., p. 73. Mary Sergeantson, J.E.G.P ., 
xxvi, 1927, pp. 193, 330 considers this raising to i 
is one of the most striking features in GGK and on the 
basis of place names she assigns the MS* to Derby. 
Oakden, Op. Git ., p. 27, however, considers her view 

* * 


?. - 

(, . 



( * . 


t *. { 



In both Chaucer and GGK , O.E. ae was retracted 

to a. Both writers have war (O.E. waer). Miss Sergeantson 

states that the retraction was a feature of the North and 

Midland dialects while Kentish, extreme South Midland and 

South dialect had e , - a form that was subsequently ousted 

after the beginning of the fourteenth century. 

The feminine pronoun in the nominative is 

she in Chaucer whereas GGK has ho with an exception, scho, 

“ 90 

occurring five times. Oakden regards scho , a later form in 

the North West Midlands, as scribal interference. 


But while, as Wyld points out, the more 
polished writers of the Midlands in the fourteenth century, 
Mandeville, Chaucer, Wycliffe and Gower all have sche or 
she only, the other forms are not likely to have been 
unfamiliar to Ghaucer. In Kent the modern form is rarely 

#9. M. Sergeantson, R.E.S ., ii, 1921, p. 186. 

90. Oakden, Op 9 Cit », i, p. 79* 

91. Wyld, Op . Cit., p. 231. 

c - ■ < 





used and in Avenbite of Inwvt . for example, we find hi and hy . 

The Owl and the Nightingale has M* Many writers show an 

interchange of forms, particularly in the West Midlands 

where sche etc. came into use later than it did in the North 

and East Midlands. William of Palerne has sche . she , he , hue 

and Langland has sche as well as heo . 

In the nominative plural of the pronoun, 

Chaucer and GGK have bei and hay (O.N. heir ) which had become 


general before the middle of the fourteenth century. But 
while Chaucer usually has the native hem both in the accus¬ 
ative and dative plural, GGK has hem and horn - the latter 


appearing eight times and regarded by Oakden as a possible 
Western feature. In the genitive plural where Chaucer has 
her (e) and hir(e), GGK has several forms: her , most frequent¬ 
ly, but also the Northern hayr, 1359, 1362, and hor eighteen 


times - a form which Oakden regards as exclusively Western. 
While the displacement of the English forms was a slow process 
in the Midlands and South, the ]d form is not likely to have 
caused Chaucer any difficulty. 

92. See K. Sisam . Fourteenth Century Prose and Verse , 
Oxford Clarendon Press, 1933, p. 34, lines 32 and 45. 

93. See Wright, Op . Cit ., p. 163; Wyld, Op . Cit., p. 235; 
Sisam, Op , Cit,, p. 2$S. 

94. Oakden, Op. Cit . , i, p. 32. 

95. Oakden, Ibid ,, p. 32. 


- e. 


c • - C '«. 

. . $ 




In one line, Chaucer himself can use a mixture of forms as in 

C.T ., A 18: That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke . 

In the verbs, one of the most marked 

differences between the form used by Chaucer and that used by 

the Gawain poet occurs in the ending of the present participle. 

GGK has mostly the Northern -and (O.E. -ende ). Unlike his 

contemporary Gower who uses the Midland -ende, Chaucer uses 


-ing (e) which, according to Wyld, first came into use in the 

South and is of uncertain origin. Five examples of -yng in 


GGK are also noted by Oakden, and the Northern ending is 
unlikely to have caused Chaucer any difficulty. 

In the present indicative plural of the verb 
to be, Chaucer has been , be and rarely, as in T. and C . ? 
iv, 972, arn . GGK has ar(e) , arne and ben . 

Chaucer retains the final -en, an East Mid¬ 
land characteristic, in the infinitive more commonly than 
does the Gawain poet and the southern verbal prefix j_- 
in the past participle, as in yronne , C.T ., A 8, and ytaught , 
C.T., A 28. 

One of the most noticeable differences between 
the practices of Chaucer and those of the Gawain poet occurs 
in the use of the Third person present indicative singular. 

In GGK it ends in -es, -e3 as in falles , 2327, rhyming with 
halles . In Chaucer, the usual ending is -eth . 

96. Wyld, Op. Git ., p. 25$. 

97. Oakden, Op.. Cit. , i, p 0 81 









Again, the imperative in Chaucer is sing , singeth , -_e 
whereas GGK has forms either without the ending or with -je 
or - es as in slakes, 412. Contracted forms of take and make 
are common in GGK but that Chaucer knew of such contractions 
is clear from his use of taa , C,T , A 4129, put into the mouth 
of the Northern clerk, John. 

Chaucer never hesitates to use different 


dialectal forms to suit his own purposes. While normally 
using the third person present singular -sth , he uses the 
northern form -es in telles f B. of D ,. 73, to rhyme with elles 
falles , B. of D ., 257, to rhyme with halles ; tellis , H. of F . 
i, 426 to rhyme with ellis . In C,T ., A, 1313 Chaucer has 
fulfille to rhyme with wille but in T. and G .« iii, 510, he 
has the Kentish form fulfelle to rhyme with telle e The 
Kentish form feere appears in T» and C .„ iii, 973 instead of 
the usual fyr , G.T ., A 624, and sheld in T. and G ., ii, 201, 
instead of shild , C.T ., A 3427, and while the Kentish dialect 
must have been easily accessible to him, these changes do 
suggest an easy interchange of dialect. 

But more conclusive evidence of Cha.ucer ? s 
understanding of dialect is to be seen in both the Friar T s 
and the Reeve ! s Tales. In the first, Chaucer suggests a 

93. Lounsbury, Op. Cit., i, p. 336 

< * 


Northern setting by introducing into the dialogue words 

that distinctly belong to dialect, such as Brock , Scott , hayt 

and tholed . In the Reeve’s Tale, the clerks John and Aleyn 

speak mainly in Northern dialect since they were born ’ fer in 

the north, I kan nat telle where ’, C,T ,, A 4015* Line 4037 

has gas instead of goeth , 407$ has geen instead of goon , 4172 


has thai r instead of hire and 4032 has ham instead of horn . 

Other Northern forms occur in til , ymel , heythen , gif , pit , 


boes j lathe f f onne . hethvng , taa etc. 

On the evidence submitted, therefore, the 

dialectal differences are not sufficient to have caused 

Chaucer any difficulty in reading GGK and his ability to 


produce linguistic features appropriate to character 

would suggest a marked facility for understanding dialectal 


99o For detailed account, see Rene" Huchon, Histoire de La 
Langue Anglaise , Armand Colin, Paris, 1930, p. 2$5« 

100. J.R.R. Tolkien, Chaucer as a Philologist . Transactions 
of the Philological Society, 1934, p* 34, states: tT The 
evidence... is sufficient to establish the claim of the 
dialects of the northern clerks to be something differ¬ 
ent from the conventional literary expression of rustic 
speech. 11 Professor Tolkien maintains that the exact¬ 
ness with which some of the details of speech can be 
localized suggests some direct contact with speakers, 
if not from Strother itself, at least the far north of 
England, beyond the Tees. 

101. D. Everett, Chaucer’s Good Ear T R.E.S .. isxxiii, 1947, 
p. 201, remarks on Chaucer’s extraordinary ability to 
detect variations in speech. 




c ■ - 



The Vocabulary 

Reference has already been made to Chaucer 1 s 
102 x 103 

large and diverse vocabulary. As Rene Huchon states: 
" Pans les oeuvre de Chaucer } le moven anglais dresse une 

sorte d* inventaire de. ses resources lexiCQEraphiques ." 

Scholars have pointed out that Chaucer largely rejected the 

old words that had survived in poetic usage, kept rhetorical 

diction only when it seemed appropriate, avoided jargon and 


appeared to use a vocabulary varied to fit the speaker. 

102. See p. 9* 

103* Rene' Huchon, Op. Git ., p. 290. 

104. See Malone, Op. Cit ., p. 5: tf Chaucer ! s language is 

simply the language spoken in his home town, London, 
by cultivated people in the fourteenth century. TT 
Also Huchon, Op. Cit ., p. 291: n Chez lui (Chaucer ) 
on n T est arrete ni par un afflux-deconcertant de 

termes scandinave cornme dans les Poemes alliteratifs 

du West-Midlandj ni par des survivances anglosaxonnes 

trop archaiques et rudes ? ni par une profusion de mots 

savants empruntes directement au latin ou au francais . 

Solidement appuve" sur les deux assises profondes de la 

languej il cherche la variete et la souplesse dans 

la cooperation moderee d T autres elements . tf 


. 'm 

V - • < 




3 $ 

To the reader of Chaucer, GGIC - as has been 

widely admitted - seems difficult. 

Yet several scholars contend that the Gawain 


poet, like Chaucer, employed a language really used by men. 

I schal telle hit as tit, as 1 in toun herde 

with tonge . 

GGK, 31-2. 

appears to support such views, but the next four lines: 

As hit is stad & stoken 

In stori stif & T 

With lei letteres loken 
In londe so hat3 ben .lonae , 

suggests that it is a familiar tale told in a very special 
10 ? 

way. J. Jones even goes so far as to say that GGK 

105. Richard Garnett, History of English Literature . Heine- 
mann, London, 1903, i, p. 3: tf Unfortunately the language 
of the poet is exceedingly crabbed, and the difficulty 
of following it is increased by the alliterative metre.” 

106. See Savage, M.N.L ., 1944, lix, p. 43$: ’’Such awareness 
of verbal values is proof that he w r as dealing with a 
highly imaginative living language current on men’s 
lips, not a jargon resurrected from a speech once 
spoken but then dead.” 

C.G. Osgood, The Voice of England , Harper, New York, 
1935, p. 94: ”It is.,... essentially the obscure 
language of fourteenth century Yorkshire or Lancashire.’ 1 

Speirs, Medieval English Poetry , refers to ! poetry 
shaped directly out of the spoken language 1 (p. 34), 
T live speech 1 , (p.302), and claims that most of its 
’difficulty’ is the result of the way it has been 
edited and’the lengthy, mostly irrelevant notes’. 

107. J. Jones, in his review of Medieval English poetry by 
John Speirs, The New Statesman and Nation . Jan. 4th, 

t • 



-X C 




i ■ 


i ■ 




may not be the language really used by men but may be 
further removed from contemporary speech than that of 

The truth is that the Gawain poet wrote 

in the adorned style, enriching his expression for the 

purpose of variety, alliteration and poetic effect by 

every means he could devise. While continuing a poetic 

tradition, he enlarged the old vocabulary not only to 

meet the demands of contemporary subjects and tastes as 

Everett suggests but to satisfy, so it seems, his own 


•individual artistry. 

To achieve a genuine atmosphere, the 
exactitude which often seems to characterize a romantic 
world (such as Keats’ La Belle Pane Sans Merci , Coleridge’s 

10g. D. Everett, Essays on Middle English Literature f 
Oxford Clarendon Press, 1955? P* 47• 

109. Kane, Op. Cit ., p. lgg, remarks that the alliterative 
writers appear to ’glory in the remoteness and 
strangeness of their writing’. 

Savage, The Green Knight’s Molavnes . Philological, 

The Malone Anniversary Studies, ed. T.A. Kirby and 
H.B. Woolf, John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1949? p. 
7g, refers to a phrase contained in a letter from 
Professor Rettiger: ’the sense-stretching audacity 
of the Gawain Poet.’ This phrase is admirably 
illustrated in the introduction of Pons, Op. Cit ., 

particularly p, 30, in the reference to 1 enbaned ’ 
etc. and may express most closely what constitutes 
one cf the major ’difficulties’ of GGK . 



< ' 


Ancient Mariner and Rossetti 1 s Blessed Damozel ). he drew 
largely from the fashionable world of France for precise de¬ 
tails on hunting, architecture and dress. From native words 
associated with the old heroic poetry or contemporary 
romances and from synonyms of Scandinavian origin already in 
poetic use, he evolved an archaic-sounding poetic terminol¬ 
ogy. He further added to this vocabulary more words of 
Scandinavian, French and native origin. Some of these words 

are obscure, mainly because derivation cannot be definitely 


established. Others still exist in present day dialects. 

110. E. Wright, Notes on GGK , E.S. 1906, xxxvi, p. 226-7, 
gives the following words as being among those in GGK 
that are still found in present day dialects. Most of 
them, she states, are North Country words: 

Attle : This occurs in the dialects as Sttle . Cf. E.D.D. 
Ettle . Bord , a hem. Britten . Gharres , sb. (1674) 
Dare, to tremble with fear, Deve . Honk, vb. Ferk . 
Fettle . Flosche . Fremed , Fyke . Fysk . GaryteS, watch- 
towers. '(The word" Garret in this sense is now obsolete, 
but it was known as late as 1&01 as the name of certain 
towers on the walls of Newcastle-on-Tyne.) Glam . 

Glaver , Graythely , Grece , a flight of steps (2023). 
Greue, a grove. (This form of the word is peculiar to 
Lancashire). Grwe for Gree (2251), victory, Hals , 
neck. Halch , to fasten, also, to embrace. Hyp, to hop. 
Ho, she/ Hoo . Kay , Knarre . Lap , to wrap. Lathe , 
to invite. Lausen . Layke ♦ Lete , to feign. Lome, a 
tool. Mensk. Misy . Mon, must. Myre, a bog. Pyked , 
pointed (769) • Quest. Quyle 3 until. Each. Rale. 

Rake . Rayke . Rous . Rud, to redden. Lyme 8 ( 1343 ) • 
Rytte . Samen, to assemble, collect. Semble , assembly. 
(Occurs only in ne. Lan.) Skyft . Slade . Snart . Snayp . 

Stale, handle^(214)* Stith. Stonstil, stone-still. 

Swythe, quickly. Tene. Tent, pricTH (This form 
occurs only in Lan. Cf. E.D.D. Tnrutch). p>ryng. Tote, 
Trestes . trestles, Tyffen, Wale, to choos'eC Wap. liar 
Ware, to use. WoSe , a wall. V/ykis , corners of The 

Wylsum. (This compound form is now obsolete, but is 
iound in Sc. as latp pc n-p t?. n n w-?n ^ 




Words from many sources, then, make up the 
contrived style of the Gawain poet and contribute towards 
the ’special way’ already referred to. The question to 
answer is whether, unfamiliar as some of these sources are 
to the present-day reader, they were accessible and familiar 
to Chaucer. 

In considering the vocabulary, several pro¬ 
blems arose. The Oxford English Dictionary does not always 
cite the earliest example of a word nor do its references 


always give an accurate indication of usage in the period. 

Ill, cf. J.R. Hulbert, Chaucer’s Romance Vocabulary , 

Philological Quarterly, 1947-&, xxvi-xxvii, p. 302: 

”A lexicographer hasn’t ’opinions’; he is merely 
doing the best he can with the evidence at hand. 
Perhaps no one has so lively a sense of its imperfect¬ 
ions as he. What he has before him is a mass of 
quotations from books which have been read for this 
purpose. The quotations were taken by inexperienced 
readers who had no scientific means of knowing what 
words in the texts they were examining would be 
valuable for the dictionary,,.often they overlooked 
occurrences which really are ’firsts’. Probably 
everyone who has worked on a M.E. text, even one 
which he can see was read for the Dictionary , has 
found earlier occurrences of words or meanings than 
the first in the O.E.D.” 



The Chaucer Concordance does not contain every word to be 


found in a complete variorum edition* 

It was also found that dictionaries referred to different 
editions of the same work and in some cases bibliography 
was incomplete. To overcome the handicap of the lack of 
an adequate Middle English dictionary, every effort has 

been made to use all available authorities. These are the 


O.E.D., Strain&n f s Middle English Dictionary, The English 

115 116 
Dialect Dictionary, available parts of the newM.E.D., 

112. J.S.P. Tatlock & R.G. Kennedy, A Concordance to the 
Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Carnegie Institute, 
Washington, 1927. 

113. eg. F.H. Stratman, A Middie-English Dictionary , Oxford 
Clarendon Press, 1891, P* xiii, states he is using 
Chaucer 1 s Canterbury Tales, ed. by F.J. FurnivaH, 
Chaucer Soc. About 1386. (Date of Publication not 
given). He gives schankes in Chaucer 1 s G.T., B 1392. 
(Other MSs. flankesT * 

114. Q*E.D ., Oxford Clarendon Press, 1888-1933® 

115. J. Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary , Henry 
Frowde, Oxford, 1898:. 

116. H. Kurath & Sherman M. Kuhn, Middle English Dictionary , 
University of Michigan Press, 1954, parts A; B - Bis; 
E; F. 


„ 117 118 

Cotgrave* s Dictionary, Halliwell*s Dictionary, The 


Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, The Scottish 
120 # 121 

National Dictionary, Jamieson^ Dictionary, Littre*s 


French Dictionary and two Old French dictionaries. 



handle Cotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and 
English Tongues, 1611, University of South 
Carolina Press, 1950. 

J.O. Ealliwell, A Dictionary of Archaic and 
Provincial Word s, loTbbings, London, 1901. 

119. Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue , ed. Sir 
W. Craigie, University of Chicago Press, 1931- 
1955, parts A — U • 

120. The Scottish National Dictionary, ed. W. Grant, 
Edinburgh, 1952, parts "A - E. 

121. The Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of 
tne^cottish Language , eUTTohh J am'^6h“,'^lIIlWers4ty 
Press, Edinburgh, 1825. 

122. Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise , ed. E. Littre, 
Librairie Hachette, ISbl, Paris. 

123. Lexique de L t Anci en Francais , ed. Frederic Godefroy, 
Paris, 1901, and Dictionnaire d T Anclen Fran cois, 
ed. R. Grandsaignes^lTauterine,“barousse, 1947, 


The vocabularies of three romances referred to by 

124 125 126 

Chaucer, Sir Beves , Guy of Warwick , and Sir Tristram 

have been examined in detail and many of the other 

M.E. romances as well as the homilies have been either 

lead or consulted. A comparison has also been made 

of the vocabulary of Gower and GGK and Promptorium 
128 ' — 
Parvulorum and GGK, but the findings are not yet 

complete. Reference has also been made to the 


glossary of he Roman de La Rose . 

124. Sir Beves of Hamtoun, ed. S. Kolbing, E.E.T.S., 
E.S. r^6, 1896. 

125. Guy of Warwick, ed. J. Zupitza, E.E.T.S., E.S., 
42, 1883. 

126. Sir Tristrem, ed. G.P. Mclieill, S.T.S., viii, 
188 <d7“ 

127. R.W. King, A Note on GGK , 1934, xxix, 

p. 435, rightly points out the indebtedness 
of the romance writers to the homilists. 

128. Promptorium Parvulorum Sive Clericorum, Lexicon 
Anglo-Latinum Princeps , ed. A.L. Mayhew, E.E.T. 

S., 1906. 

129. h e Roman de La Ros e, ed. M. Me on, Paris, 1814. 



It is proposed to examine in groups the 

words in GGK which do not appear in Chaucer and attempt 
to decide on the evidence available whether Chaucer 
would have known them. The groups are those which draw 
attention to the most distinctive elements of the vocabul¬ 
ary of GGK and include hunting, fashion and building 
terms, other words from the French, poetic diction, words 
of Old English and Scandinavian derivation, and words 
which have been disputed by the scholars. Not included 

are words which occur in Chaucer with the same stem but 

131 132 

with a different prefix or suffix, or aphetic forms. 

130. GGK texts examined are: H. Morris, Sir Gawayne 
and the Green Knight , Kegan Paul, London, 1864; 
Tolkien and Gordon, Sir Gswain and the Green 
Knight, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1925; 

Gollancz, Sir Gawain and the Green Knigh t, Hum¬ 
phrey Milford, Oxford university Press, 1940. 

131. eg. GGK, 1627, ll'pemes , Chaucer, C.T ., A 3299, 
lltherly . O.E. lyfrer : evil. GGK , 2435, fayntyse , 
Chaucer, R.E. , 1735, f eynte d, B. of D., 487, 

f aynte . 

132. Chaucer often uses aphetic forms himself, eg. 

C .T., A 3476, spitously : angrily. O.F. despi t. 
R.R. 3772, noy s harm. O.F. anui . 



4 6 

Regarding spelling, I feel that the 

differences would not cause Chaucer difficulty if, from 
133 134 

his work and his reading, he was familiar with writings 


in other dialects. As Sisam, Baugh, Wyld and others 

point out, there was no recognized standard and Chaucer T s 

contemporaries, even those writing in the same dialect, 

frequently used spellings different from his. In Chaucer, 

for example, there are the following variant readings for 


yellow , Frol , 675: y elwe , yelw. \ ye.lowe , ye low , etc. 

In giving the translation, with a few 
exceptions, the Gollancz glossary has been quoted. 
Exceptions are words such as rusched , GGK , lines 2204, 2219, 
which Gollancz translates as T made a rushing, whirring^ 
noise. ! This sense is not given under RUSH in the Q.B.D . 
although the same derivation is given, and in Stratman, 
under RUSCHEN , the translation ! rush T is given and examples 
are quoted both in GGK and in Chaucer, G.f ., A 1641# The 
principle adopted is that where Gollancz gives a translat¬ 
ion which differs from the one generally accepted by other 
scholars, it is considered if adequate reasons are also 
provided in the.notes* 




1 — 1 

See p/ 10. 


See p. 16. 


Sisam, Op. Cit., p. 27S: A.C. Baueh. A His 

torv of 

the English Language, p. 250; H.C. Wyld, A 


Historv of English, p. 152. 


See O.E.D. under TELLOW. sb. and adj. 









The group of words in GGK which is most 

frequently commented upon is the group of hunting terms* 

For centuries, hunting had been one of the 

chief recreations of the English. With the Conquest, 

French methods of hunting and game preservation were 

adopted. Encouraged by the Normans, hunting became the 


chief passion of medieval society - after war* 

137* See Pons. Op. Cit., p„ 31; Oakden, Allit. Poetry in 
M.E., ii, p s 1237 

138. Mary Whitemore, Medieval Domestic Life and Amusements 

in the Works of Chaucer f Catholic University of America, 
1937, p. 193 * 

139o W.R. Halliday, A Short Treatise of Hunting by Sir 

Thomas Cockaine 1591, Oxford University Press, 1932, 
p. vi. 

. Leon Gautier, La Chevalerie , Paris, 1883, p® 173-4: 
" C^Grtaitj aores la auerre ? leur passion... .la chasse 

etait devenue une veritable science. T? 




As a member of a noble household, Chaucer 

would certainly have been familiar with the sport and 

while the Life Records of the Chaucer Society do not reveal 

many details of Chaucer T s duties as forester of North 


Petherton, a forester is defined by Savage as T an 

officer of the King (or any other man) that was sworn to 


preserve the Vert and Venison of the Forest 

Chaucer T s allusions to the sport are 

numerous. Walter, Theseus, Dido, Troilus, the Monk and Sir 

Thopas are all keen hunters. There is only one scene, 

however, in the Book of the Duchess , where he goes through 

the motions from the uncouplvng of the hounds to the 

forloyn . It is interesting to note that lines 376-330 
contain no fewer than seven words either actually used by 
the Gawain poet or closely related: 

141. H. Savage, Hunting in the Middle Ages . Speculum ? 

Jan. 1933, viii, pp. 30-41. 

142. See also J.S.P. Tatlock, The Mind and Art of Chaucer , 
Syracuse University Press, 1950, p. 14: tr Ghaucer T s 
duties...would be the supervision of a considerable 
staff for control of hunting, poaching, dogs, stray 
cattle, etc." 

F.N. Robinson, Op. Cit ., p. 333, points out that 
Chaucer 1 s references were in accord with the actual 
hunting practices of his age„ 

143 . 





With a gret horn blew thre mot 
At the uricoupylynge of hys houndes 
Withynne a while the hert y founde ys, 
Yhalowed and rechased faste. -144 

At the conclusion of Octavian ! s hunt there 

occurs the word strake . In GGK t lines 1364, 1923, strakande , 

pres. part, is translated by Gollancz and TG. ! blowing T or 

1 sounding call ! , with the remark that the derivation is 

obscure. A similar observation is made by the O.E.D . which 

mentions that it appears in The Master of Game , 1406-13, by 

Edward, second Duke of York. The O.E.D . gives Chaucer 1 s 
.strake from Old. Teutonic root strak . strak.jan : to stretch 
(go). But since Ghaucer is referring specifically to the 

They san to strake forth: all was doon T 

For that tvme. the hert-huntvng . 


it seems reasonable to regard it as the same word as appears 

in GGIC and to translate it as the alternative given by 

145 146 

Robinson - ! sound the horn to announce the return 1 . 

144. The words underlined are in GGK, GGK also has, 1147, 
couples : leashes, O.F, couple ; and, 1143, chasvng , 
0. F. chacier . 

145. Robinson, Ojd. Hit., p. 1107. 

146. See also Alex . C., 13G6, Master of Game . xxxiii, and 
Turb . Yen . 252, for further examples of the word used 
in this sense. 


. . 

*. 5 . • ' ' '. 


< - 





( ? 

t • • < • 



‘ “ 


The fact that other hunting terms appear¬ 
ing in GGK do not appear in Chaucer cannot be taken as an 
indication that he did not know them. Had he not written 
Sir Thopas we would have had no knowledge that Chaucer 

knew twenty-three words found in popular romances which he 


employs nowhere else in his poems. 

Chaucer would also have seen hunting terms 
if he read the romances. Hunting descriptions occur in 
Sir Tristrem , 441-523, Awntvrs of Arthure , 33-67, In omadon , 
537-630, as well as in The Parlement of the Thre Ages ? 1-103 
In the first work cited, the cutting up of the deer is given 
in great detail with terms such as erber, gargilon , noumbles 
priis , raches, rigge and quirre which also appear in GGK . 
While this fact in itself does not prove that Chaucer would 
have understood these words, the occurrence of accepted 
hunting terms in the romances indicates a width of usage. 

But the strongest justification for assuming 
that Chaucer would have understood GGK 1 s hunting terms lies 
in the fact that they are derived from French court usage 
and from French hunting treatises current 

147. For these words see LlH. Loomis, Sources and Analogues 
of- -the Canterbury Tales , p. 491. 



* ' c - 

t.. « • 




in the period. 

It has been suggested that the Gawain 
poet was himself an armchair huntsman and that he did 


not acquire the terms he used from his own experience. 

148. The works Chaucer might have read are l T Art de 
Venerie by Twici , huntsman to Edward 11 (1307-27), 
in The Art of Hunting , A. Dryden, Northampton, 190$, 
and Le Livre de Chasse of Roy Modus (c. 1360) 
attributed to Henry Ferrieres, ed. Gunnar Tilander, 
Paris, 1931* (According to W.R. Halliday, Op. Cit . 
p. ix, there was also the Book of Tristram, now lost. 
This hunting bible is referred to by Malory and 
quoted extensively by Sir. Thomas Cockaine in his 

Short Treatise of Hunting .) These works were sub¬ 
sequently used as the basis for further treatises 
and the same terminology is used. The oldest hunt¬ 
ing treatise in English is The Master of Game by 
Edward, second Duke of York, written between 1406- 
1413, ed. by W.A. Baillie Grohman, Edinburgh, 1904* 
Also extant are The Boke of St. Albans traditionally 
ascribed to Dame Juliana Barnes or Berners, printed 
at St. Albans, i 486 , and ed. by W. Blades, 1901; 

A Short Treatise of Hunting by Cockaine, 1591* 

The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting , usually ascribed 
to George Turberville, 1576, and being a translation 
of du Fouilloux l s La Venerie of 1562, reprinted in 
the Oxford, Tudor and Stuart Library, 1902. 

149. Pons, Op. Cit »» p. 35-36, contends that the Gawain 
poet sounds the prise at the wrong time and that he 
was en pleine confusion , having received his hunting 
terms not from la bouche vivante d’un veneur but from 
contemporary French texts. Savage, J.E.G.PY , 1948, 
xlvii, p. 48 , disagrees with Pons and considers that 
the poet talks from experience. C.0. Chapman, 
P.M.l.A .j 1931, xlvi, p. 178, also refers to the 
poet’s precise knowledge of venery. 


t ' 

\ c « c - • - - 







Chaucer, a wide reader and possibly having 
the practical knowledge acquired as a courtier and forester, 
might have been well-equipped to understand the hunting 
terms in GGK. 

The following hunting terms appear in GGK 
but not in Chaucer*s works. 

A3AY, sb: ? a trial of grease of a deer 1 . O.F. assai . 

The technical details of the assay are described by Turb ., 

134* See also Pari., 3. Chaucer, L.G.W ., 9, has assay : 

AVAHTERS, sb: ! numbles near the neck of the deer*. 

O.F. avant : before. Pons translates antoires which are 
defined by Roy Modus (p. 30-31) as being the flesh at the 
sides of the neck between the neck and shoulders. In B. of 
St. A ., the *auncers* are said to be under the T throte bolle*. 
The 0_._E.D_ . cite only GGK and B. of St. A., E vi.i but TG 
(p. 104 ) state that it is clear from the latter that the 
term was general. It is also in Cock., D . 

BAY, v: ! to bark, bay 1 . O.F. baler. Widely attested in 
M.E. See Alex. C .. 1$95; Egl., 2$6; Lang . R.R., iii, 235. 

BAY, sb: T the action or event of cornering a- hunted animal*. 
O.F. abai . See King Alls ., 3$$2; Lib. Des ., 1633; W. of P M 
35; Guy ., 245; Sir . T 23$. 

BY3T, sb: ’fork* - Gollancz. ’fork of legs* - TG. # 0.E. 
byht : bend. Morris does not gloss the word but in a‘comment 
beside the text he translates *fork 1 f Pons (p.33ff) suggests 
that if by3t is employed in the anatomical sense, GGK 1341, 
the operation becomes anatomically impossible. He maintains 
that the poet, reading the French treatises, has confused 
la fourche anatomioue des cuisses for la fourche de bois 

drdssde en terre par le veneur et oorteuse detroohee exouis . 

Ryveth in this case must mean enlevent, arrachent, et -portent 
A... Savage ( J.E.G-.P . , 194$, xlvii, p. 43) does not accept 
Pons* translation as fork (of a tree ). Cockaine does not 
mention the procedure but he may have forgotten it since, 
on his own admission, he almost forgets to mention the 
rechate » (0.3) • The only other example of bv3t in the Q.E.D . 
is in-Rel. Ant. i. 90. 


- P •• ,, 

4 . . < * 

^ * 




BRACHE3, sb: T a hound (hunting by scent) T . O.F. brache3 
(pi). M. Lat. bra dietus . TG,(p. 100) refer to the word 
in Titfici and it is also in general use in Cock. GGK is 
the only 14th century text where its use is cited in the 
o.h.P o 

BRITNE3, v., 1 breaks (of the boar) T . O.E. brytnian . 

See C.M . , 2720; Hav., 2700; Avowin g. , xvii; I-T, Arth ., 

5-06; D. Troy , 1971; W. of P ., 1073 where the word is 
used in the sense of 1 break, hew in pieces T . 

CACHERES, sb: T hunters 1 O.N.F. cachere . Chaucer has 
cacche , C.T . , A 4105, from O.F. cachier , chacier , Lat. 
captiare , 1 to pursue, chase or hunt 1 . TG~ (p. 102) 
remark that the sense of 1 catch 1 (in Chaucer) was develop¬ 
ed in England through association with native lacche . 

Chasoris : hunters is in Barb, vii, 91. Chacinge : chasing, 
hunting, is in Trev. Hig / ii, 359 and Promp. Parv . 62. 

As has been already referred to (p. 10), Chaucer , B. of D ., 
320,- has rechased which Robinson translates as 1 chase, pursue 1 

CHINE 9 sb: T backbone T , O.F. eschine . Oakden (Op. Cit., 
ii, p. 122) gives this word as a hunting term. See K. Alis., 
2476; Trist., 496; Pari ., 29. 

CORBEL, sb: T raven T . O.F. corbel . Late Lat. corvellum , 
dim. of corvus : raven. Chaucer, H. of F ., iii, 214, has 
corbeta from O.F. corbet : raven. In hunting, the remains 
of the slaughtered animal were given as the T fee T to the 
raven. See Pari ., 20; Trist., 502. 

ERBER, sb: 1 first stomach of ruminants 1 . O.F. herbiere . 

TG., (p. 103) refer to the 13th century French poem la 
Chase d u 0 erf and to 3. of St . A ., Fiij where methods of 
extracting the erber are described. See also Trust., 426. 

FERMIS0UN, sb: 1 close time 1 . A.F. fermyson , O.F. fermeyson . 
See Awntyrs . i. and Vocab ., 174. 

FYSKE3. v: T hasten T . The Q.E.D . takes the word as a fre¬ 
quentative of O.E. fysan : to hurry, or from O.E. fesian , 
fysian : to drive, drive off, suggesting also a further 
connection with synonymous Swed. f .jaska , frequentative of 
f,jasa : to bustle, make a fuss. Fyskyn : to hurry about, 
occurs in Promp. Parv ., 121, and Skeat, remarking on the 
word in Lang. P.P ., £. x. 153 quotes the phrase fioska , 
wiska rur.roan : T to fisk the tail about 1 , in Dictionarium 
of Sere ulus'. Savage ( M.L.N ., 1929, xliv, p. 25) quotes 
from the Hunting Badminton Library . 1229, p. 351, to 
suggest the word picture required: When a hound has a 

fancy that he scents his game but is not yet quite certain 
enough to give tongue or speak to it, his stern will be 
observed to be violently agitated: this is called feather¬ 
ing on the scent 1 . 





FNAST(ED), v: ’snorted’. O.E. -fnaestian . Savage ( P«u ., 
1930, ix p. 209-210 ) translates 1 sniff as hounds do when 
the scent is faint. Wvcl. Jer ., viii, 16, has f nasting 
and D. Troy., 168, fnastvng . The O.E.D . points out that 
the word belongs to a different ablaut series but is closely 
parallel in sound and sense with fnese , O.E. *fneosan . 
Chaucer, C.T . H 62, has fneseth : snort. 

F0URCHE3, sb: ’haunches’. O.F. fourche . Oakden (Op. Cit ., 
ii, p. 188) cites the word as an indication that the 
alliterative poets were well acquainted with the technical 
dialects of their day. See Pari ., 89, 91; B. of St. A ., 

F, ii j b; Twici, 137* 

FUTEj sb: ’track or traces of an animal 1 . O.F. fuite 
from fuir, Lat. fugere. See W. of P . ? 33‘and Promp. 

Parv . 177* 

GARGULUN, sb: ’gullet’. O.F. garguillon . McNeill (Sir. 
Trist. Op. Cit., p. iii) states that the origin of the word 
is uncertain. See Trist ., 508 and B. of St. A ., vij b. 
Chaucer has gargat : throat, in C.T . B (2) 3335. 

3ARRANDE } v: Snarling 1 . Echoic but suggested by Lat. 
garrire . See Wycl. John 10 and Trey a Hig . t ii. 159. 

Savage ( P.M.L.A ., 1931, xlvi, p. 173) states that the 
meaning is similar to that given in the 5.E.D . under 
yar(r ) 2: to cry out. Savage cites its use in M. of Game , 

51, for corroboration. 

HASTELETTE3, sb; ’edible entrails 1 . O.F. hastellet . 

See Degare , 1399; Liber C.C ., 37 and Two C. Books , 106. 

HAUILOUNE3: v; ’doubles’. O.F. have11on : a sharp turn* 

See Lang . P.P., B. x 139; Mann. Chron . . 308; B. of St * 

A. , vj b; Twici., 154* f 

HO3ES, sb: thock 1 . O.E. hoh : heel. See Alex. C ., 3151; 

B. of St. A ., viij a and Two C. Books , 25. The southern 
by-form, hoch, has persisted into modern English. But 
Chaucer may have been familiar with it; hou3~senu : 
hamstring, is in Wvcl* I. Paral . xviii. 4. 

KENELj sb: ! kennel ? . O.N.F. kenil. See Turb ., 27; 

Cock G . t Promp. Parv ., 246. 

KENET, sb: ? small dog used in hunting T . O.N.F. kennet., 
O.F. chenette . See M. Arth ., 122; 3.3. , 170; Promp . 

Parv ., 246; B a of St. A ., F iv b. 

MUTE, sb: ’pack of hounds ! or ? cry of hounds working’. 

TG (p. 106) refer to B. of St. A ., where the apprentice 
To venery is told to speak of a ’ mute of houndes . a 
kenell of rachvs ’., and to Livre du Chasse by Roy Modus. 

See also W. of P ., 2192. 

<; *. - a 







< * 

t * 


O.F. no(u)mbles. 

NOUMBLES , nb: ! part of the inwards of the deer’./ See 
Trist .| 491; B. of St. A ., E vii b; Durham Rolls , 21. 

’Noumbles to potage ’is the first item in a Brewers’ 

Winner, 1201, ( A Book of London English , 13&4-1425, ed. 

R. W. Chambers and M. Daunt, Oxford Clarendon Press, 1931)* 

PAUME 3 , sb: ’the broad flat part of the antlers’* O.F. 
paume . The next use of this word occurs in Cock . Dj. Chaucer, 

T* and C . y 1114. has ’paumes of his hondes’. 

PAUNCHE 3 5 sb: ’stomach (of ruminants)’. O.N.F. PANCHE . 

Chaucer has paunche : stomach, in R.R ., 64$7 etc. 

See Lans. P.P., B xll.$7; Bruce, 1439$; Gower, C.A., 
vi. 1000; M., 5522, $542. 

PRTS, sb: ’notes blown on the horn as a signal that the 
game is taken’. O.F. pris . See Trist ., 2749; M. of G ., 
xxxvi. Chaucer would probably understand this well- 
used hunting term, despite the fact that according to 
Pons (p. 36, 186) the prys is sounded at the wrong time 
in GGK, after instead of before ’la mort’. 

QUERRE } sb: ’quarry 1 or ’certain parts of deer given to 
hounds’. O.F. cuirde. See Trist,, 499; Pari., 233; 

Twici , 153; TurbY , 34. 

RACH, sb: ’hunting dog which pursues its game by scent’. 

O.E. Raecc ,. Occurs in both homilies and romances. 

Bee Serving Christ , O.E. Misc ., 71: Bev., M 2376; Trist., 

2470; Goffer, C.A ♦, ii. 274« O.E. Raecc, related to O.N. 

RECHATE } v: ’to blow a recheat’. O.F. rechater . See 
M. of G ., xxxiii: Turb ., xl. 114; Cock ., D iv. 

RESAYT/RESETTE, sb: ’receiving station’, ’position taken 
up to await game with fresh hounds’ - GGK . 116$. ’shelter’ 
- GGK . 2164. O.F. receite. Chaucer has receite : 
prescription in C.T ., G 1352. Since the word is ultimately 
from Lat . recipere : to receive, he would probably under¬ 
stand its significance in GGK . See Turb,, 244« 

Recetten : to take harbor, and recettor : harborer are in 
Lang. P.P., C iv, 501. 

RYGGEj sb: ’back’, O.E. hrycg(e ). Very common in M.E. - 
in alliterative phrase: K, Alls ., 7$1; in hunting: 

Trist., 491; in numerous southern texts such as A.R ., 

264; 0, and N ., 775; Lang. P.P ., Bxiv. 212. 

RYME 3 } sb: ’membranes’. O.E. reoma . The O.E. meaning 
appears to have survived through the 14 th century in 
Pncke of C ., 520; Wycl . Too it , v. 19. According to 
the O.E.D . later forms appear to have been influenced by 
the substantive rim meaning ’rim’. 


C " •• 


< * 




t * 





t " - 





Savage, (M.L.N., 1944, lix, p. 349) suggests that ryme3 
may be dial, rim , 'the peritoneum inclosing the intest¬ 
ines. 1 "In which case," adds Savage, "the form is plural 
because the poet knows of the two portions of that organ 
in mammals: the parietal and visceral layers." 

RYTTE, v: 'cut 1 . O.E. »rittan . See Havel ., 2495 • 

Trist ., 479; Sir Fir ., 5030; and to-ritten in Orfeo, 79. 

SYNGLERE, sb: 'full-grown wild boar'. O.F. sengler. Also 
in M. Arth ., 3124 and Turb ., 100 as sangler . The word is 
not in Stratman and no other examples are cited, but 
Gollancz (p.116) calls this the ordinary appellation for a 
boar separated from the herd. 

SLOT, sb: 'a hollow running down the middle of the breast'. 
O.F. esclot , According to the O.E.D ., only in M. Arth . 2254; 

D. Trov , 3063 in 14th century. 

SOUNDER, sb: 'herd of wild swine'. Used in hunting treatises: 
B. of- St . A . j E ij b; Turb ., 100; m. of G . , v. 

STABLYE, sb: 'a besetting of a wood with men for the purpose 
of taking deer, hence the men themselves'. (O.F. establie ), 

No examples are given in the O.E.D . and the word is not in 

TAYSSD, pp: 'driven'. Origin obscure. According to 
Gollancz (p. 112) it was the business of the teazer , a 
kind of mongrel greyhound, 'to drive away the deer before 
the greyhounds were slipt'. Gollancz refers to M. of G . 
appendix, defining a teaser . It is also in Turb . Stratman 
cites taysed in GGK under taesen , tasen , O.E. taesan ; 
pull about, card wool, with examples in Gower , G.A., i. 17; 
Prornp. Parv , , 4$7 etc. E.M. Wright (E.S., 1906, (xxxvi 
p. 223) notes that the word tease is still found in the 
dialects in the sense of 'to drive'. 

TITLERES, sb: 'ticklers (the hounds pressing him)'. See 
TITTLE v. 2 (perhaps a dialectal variant of Tickle Q.^.D o 
Gollancz follows E.M. Wright's suggestion that ELt is from 
O.F. title : collier ou couple de chien appele botte . ,? By 
the addition of the English suffix -er," writes Mrs. Wright 
(Ibid. p. 224) "we thus have a word meaning the hound who 
wears this kind of collar." Savage ( P.M.L.A ., 1931, p. 456 
xlvi/, suggests the word may be derived from English dialect 
tittle : tattle or talk idly, and glosses 'tell-tale babblers', 
referring to hounds in full cry or about to catch the scent. 
The word, presumably, is that which still exists in children's 
rhyme s: 

Tell-tale tit 

Your tongue will split. ^ 

or tittle-tattle . However, O.E.D .under TITTLE v. 1., gives 
only Lang. R.R . s lv. 57 - and some were tituleris and to the 
kynp; went - before 1400, and states the word did not appear 
to come into use until after that date. In GGK , the sense 
of something harrying or pressing the fox, is clear in the 






c * 








TRYSTER, sb: Appointed station in hunting 1 , O.F, triste . 

See Chaucer, T, and C ., ii 1534: 

Lo, hold the at thi triste cloos, and I 
Shal wel the deer unto thi bowe dryve. 

It is interesting to note that Iriste here, which Robinson 
translates as ’tryst’, occurs in a hunting metaphor. For 
the use of the word in the sense ’rendez-vous’ see A.R . t 
332; Town ., 310; Bruce ., vii 23. But O.F. tristre , 

triste : a place for lying in wait for game (Godefroy), may 
be closer to the sense in GGK . The word is defined as a 
hunting term in Promp. Parv ., 2401. 

TROCHET, adj: ’battlemented’. O.F. troche : cluster of tines 
at the summit of a deer’s horns - Gollancz. Oakden ( Allit . 
Poetry in M.B . ii p. 1&$) refers to the word as a hunting 
term and translates ’tines’, stating it also occurs in Pari ., 

67 and Purity , 1383. The Q.E.D . refers to O.F. troche : 
cluster, mass. E.M. Wright ( 'ibid ., p. 225) refers to Cot- 
grave-: troche : Troched or whose top is divided into three or 
four small branches; trochee : A cluster of apples, etc. a 
bunch of nuts, etc. growing close together upon one bough. 

”If then we take troched in the sense that Cotgrave uses it, 

-we might understand it to mean ’furnished or ornamented with 
little turrets’,” she adds. 

It should be pointed out that Cotgrave gives 
only the translations of the word as found in the Old French. 
Nowhere does he hint at ’little turrets’. Since in GGK and 
Purity the word is applied to a castle, the question arises 
whether it is properly a hunting term. Troched in H. of G . 
xxiv and Twici in Rel. Ant .l, 151 refers specifically to deer. 

UNHARDELEDj v: ’uncoupled’. O.F. hardel : rope - Gollancz. 
Stratman has O.F. hardelle (troupe). Q.S.D . gives hardel 
as an obs. form of hurdle , O.E. hyrdel , but cites no examples 
of its use during the 14th. century. The word does not 
occur elsewhere. 

VEWTER3 } sb: ’dog keepers’. A.F. veutrier. Stratman has 
’one who tracks the deer by the fuite’. O.E.D .gives vewter 
and early mod, E. feuterer as a corrupted adoption of A.F. 
vautre , O.F. veutre : a keeper of greyhounds. It occurs only 
in GGK during the 14 th century, but See Vewter in B.B . f 320/631. 

WAYTH, sb: ’game or spoils of hunting’. O.N. veiir , See 
G.M.. 3522; M. Arth .,~3233: D. Troy , 2350; Awntyrs ., 
xxxiv . 

WESAUNTj sb: ’windpipe’. O.E. waesand. This word is still 
well established in the dialects of Sc., Irel., Nhb., Cum., 

Wm., Yks., Lan., Lin., Glo., Brks., Suff., Dor., according 
to the E.D.D . See Trev . Barth., vxxiii; Vocab . t 676 ; Bruce t 
vii 5^4; Lan., 43. 



< * . * - 


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5 . 4 





■•s r'v, ' , , : 

< • .. • - . - .*. . < - - < * - 

« * ? * - 

< • 

? * . , ’ ... 

c * 

i * 


WORIED ? v: Worried 1 . O.E. wyrgan . O.K.D . translate 
! to seize by the throat with the teeth’ commenting that 
! to worry’ seems to be a later use. See Havel ., 1915; 
Lang. P.P . t G x 226; Trev. Hig ., 465; Stratman gives 
’choke, throttle, tear, worry’. 

Promp. Parv Q . gives wvrwvne : to strangle and (p. 742) 
refers to ’he(the wolf) wolde hem wirie and drinke the 
blood’ - R.R . 6264# In which case the word would be 
familiar to Chaucer but not necessarily in the sense 
’ worry ’. 

Of the forty-seven words dealt with, asay , 
avanters , bav v. and sb., brache3 « cacheres , chine , erber , 

fermisoun , fourche3 , fute, gargulun , 3arrande f hastelette3 , 

hauiloune3 , ho3es , kenel , .kenet, mute, noumbles , naunche3 , 

pxvs . guerre , rjLC.k, re^&yt, rygge , r yrae3_ , rytte, 

svnglere « sounder , tavsed , titleres ? trvster , vewters, wavth 

and wesaunt are recognized terms connected with game. 

Britne3 ? corbel ? fvske3 T fnasted and slot 
are words which Chaucer might have known, if one considers 
them from the standpoint of context and usage. 

Stablye , unhardeled and trochet are not 
necessarily clear in context and the translations generally 
given are open to dispute. In the case of by3t we have 
only one other example cited by the 0.E o D . in the 14th 
century and Stratman gives only one example, bo3t (O.E. bu3an ) 
- K. Alls .. 4712. In view of Pons’ explanation, it is 
difficult to determine how Chaucer would have translated 
the word in context. 

A clearer translation for woried (GGK 1905) 
is, surely, ’seize by the throat with the teeth’ for GGK 

1907 shows that the rach had got the fox in its mouth: Rased 

hym ful radly out of be rach moubes . 
Chaucer has this word, R.R. 6264 * 

In the sense indicated, 



As in the hunting terms, in the terms used to 

describe the world of fashion, the Gawain poet uses a 

predominantly French vocabulary. Even Gawain T s horse, Gringolet, 

bears a name very fashionable in Franoe from the 12th. 


century on and is harnessed in Frenoh fashion. 

Y/hen Chaucer describes his contemporaries, he 

is more interested in presenting individual deviations 

which are illustrative of character than detailed desorip- 

tions of dress. 

While the Gawain poet carefully perpetuates all 

the details of the age of chivalry, making full use of a 

wide vocabulary for stylistic embellishments z 

Q,ueme quyssewes ban* bat coyntlych closed. 

GGK., 578. 

Chaucer glosses over unessentials. 

Armed were they y as I have yow told . 

Everyeh after his opinioun. 

C.T ., 2126-7. 

Details of the arming of Sir Thopas have been 
cited as evidence of Chaucer's familiarity with the 

150. See Pons, Op. Pit ., p. 29. Oakden, Allit. Poetry in 
M.S. » ii, p. 199, remarks that the alliterative poets 
do not refer to details of dress as though they were 
things with which they had only a second-hand 

151. YYhitemore, Op. Cit ., p. 145, remarks that there is a 
lack of detail in Chaucer's description of dress of 
the upper classes. 








romances* Many of the words used in connection with fashion 
in GGK are found in the romances* The following words are not 
found in Chaucers 

ARS0UKE5, sb: *saddle-bows 1 * O.F. arcun* Lat* arcionem* 
Widely used* See Bev., A/l'/b2; Lib* Des. # 345; Guy*. 3094: 
F. and Blanch ** 385; K* Alls ** 42STI 

BLASOON, sb: ♦shield 1 . O.F. blason. See Coer de L.. 5727; 
Lang * P.P., B xvi 179; W, of P , t 3572; m 7 Arth * , i860* 

BLISATMT, sb: f tunio, a rich fabrics O.F. bliaut* see Guy*, 
208; Trist *, 410 and Alex.C *, 4912 where it "is glossed as 
♦coverlet of fine linen 1 * 

BR0NY, sb: f ooat of mail 1 . O.N. brynja * Widely used* See 
Bev., F/3761; K. Alls ., 1247; A*R . 7 582; Awntyrs *, xli # 

COWTSRS, sb: *a strip of stuff hanging from the elbow of a 
sleeve 1 * O.F* coultiere * Also in M* Arth * 2567. 

MNOURKSD, v$ ♦adorned 1 . O.F. anorer , enorer * If this 
translation is correct, this word appears In Chaucer* C.T., 
i 432, as aornement * In Le Roman de la Rose glossary Is 
aorer , aornement * The altered prefix touIcT probably not have 
caused Chaucer any difficulty since it was used in the period. 
Wycl. has anno urn , Gen., xxiv, 47, enoum , gsth., viii, 9. 

GORGKR, sb: 1 cover for neck or breast 1 * O.F. gorgiere . See 
Lib* Pes o* 1616; Coer de L ., 321; K. Alis *. 36367 

GGULE, sb: f red as one of the heraldic colors 1 . O.F. goule * 
See also Alex* C *, 4819. 

GRE\TE3, sb: 1 armor for the leg below the knee 1 * O.F. greve . 
See also Alex* C », 3893* occurs also in the French romances, 
according to Littre. 

152. L.H. Loomis, Sources and Analogues , p. 488 

LACHET, 3b: *loop, lace* 
Promp. Parv . t 254. 

O.F. laonet . See Ipom ., 445b; 

MOTJNTURE, sb: *saddlehorse*. O.F. monteure. Stratman 
oites only GGK. See also Awntyrs ., 565 , - p'.E.D . 

PAYTTRURE, sb: f breast-trappings of a horse*. Pernaps an 
alternative form of peitrel, O.F. peitrail - o.E.D. Chaucer 
has the more common Form, peytrel , g # T . , g 554. ^’ee also 
Promp. parv . 668. Cotgrave has poiofrail; a petrel for a 

PARE, sb: •sKin, fur, especially fur lining* * O.F. panne. 
See F» and Blanch ., 110; Guy., 711; W. of P., 356; 

Egl ., 858; Promp. Parv ., 526. 

PANE, sb: *piece of cloth*. O.F. pan. See Trist., 994; 

Iw., 204; Sir Fir ., 5188. 

PAUNCE, sb: *armor covering the lower part of the body*. 

O.F. paunoer , pauncier . See Alex. C ., 4960. Chaucer has 
paunche , P.F. Bio, which Strabman lists under panohe, sb., 
O.F. panoe ; paunch, coat of mail . 

PSLURB, sb: f fur or furred robe*. O.F. peleure , pelure . 

Lat. pellem (skin). See K. Alls ., 4129; Alex. C ., 2748; 
Lang. P.P ., B xv 7; W. of t> . bS. 

PENDAUNTES, sb: *pendants*. O.F. pendant . See Lang. P.P ., 

B xv 7. A.L. Mayhew ( Promp. Parv ., p. 668) translates as " 
*the decoration of the extremity of the girdle* and cites 
the word in various M.E. vocabularies including Promp. Parv . 

PENTAUNGEL, sb: *five-pointed star*. Not found elsewhere. 
The word may be either from penta / an gle or an accommodated 
form of pentagle - O.E.D . Gollancz and TG suggest Lat. 
pentaoulum and Q.F»" Tentacle may have been influenced by 
angle. Speirs ( Med. Eng.' Poetry , p. 230) terms the word an 
ancient life symbol, referred to in Green Grow the Rushes-o 
- "five for the symbol at your door". 

PYSAN, sb: *piece of armor protecting the upper part of 
chest and neck*. O.F. pisa(i)ne . See K. Alis ., 3697; Coer 
de L. , 321; Perc . , 1722* PTArth ., 3458. 

P0LAYNE3, sb: *piece of defensive armor covering the knee*. 
See Mann. Chron ., 10027, only. 

QJJYSSEWES, sb: * thigh piece*. O.F. cuisseaux , pi. of O.F. 
cuissel . Derives ultimately from cuisse : la partie du corps 
d*homme et des animaux qui s f et endTTe la hanche j us'qu * au 

genou. - Littre. See Man. Chron.10027~. 

4 * 

I . . 







9 0' y OO 



4 * 






SKYRTE3, sb: 'lower part of a man's gown or flaps or lower 
portion of the saddle*. O.N. skyrta . Development in the 
English sense is obscure - O.E.D . See Mann. Chron ., 7884; 
MoArth. # 3473; Alex. C ., 11533 where it is glossed as skirts. 
Mand. ~~S'21 0 

TOPFYMJ, sbj; 'forelock*. Does not occur elsewhere. 

Etymology obsoure. E.M. Wright ( op. Git ., p. 224) compares 
E.D.D. toppin(g) . sb., with varying dialectal uses in Sc. 
irel. and Eng.•. • • 1 • 'The crest of feathers on the head of a 
birds a horse's forelock 1 . Chaucer has top , tope (top of 
head), C.T., A 590. 

IDLY/ TULS/ T0L0USE, sb., adjs 'fabric or deep red color*. 
Weber ( Metrical Romances , Edinburgh, 1910, iii p. 450) states 
the word is from the place name. He glosses tuely silk . Goer 
de L o, 67,1516, as probably from toile de sole ; silken stuff. 
Mayhew ( Op. Cit ., p. 727) glosses tuly, Promp. Parv ., 494 as 
'crimson color'. Stratman gives toli ; scarlet dye in Alex . 

C., 4335, but no derivation. See 'also Trev. Barth , xvi Ixxxi. 

VRYSOUN, sbs 'a covering for a helmet made of some light em¬ 
broidered stuff'. 0*F. hourson . Pons (0£* Cit ., p. 29) 
cites vrysoun as one of a list indicative of The Gawain' 
poet's awareness oi'^Frencn fashion. He amplifies 'horson' as 
*couvre-casque brode* (p. 138)* 

Of the twenty-five words listed, arsouneS , blasoun , 
bleaunt , bruny , pane (cloth and skin), pelure , pysan are well 
attested in M.l* and would probably have been familiar to 
Chaucer. Aided by context and derivation, Chauoer might have 
understood cowters (cp. also P. coude s elbow), gorger , greve3, 
paunce , pendauntes , polayneS , toppyng , quyssewes and vrysoun . 
The spelling of quyssewes would not have caused Chaucer any 
difficulty since he has quisahin , 0*F. oulsson . Any detailed 
description of a horse is likely to include the breast- 
trappings and in context the meaning of payttrure becomes self- 
evident. Moreover, there appears to have been considerable 
laxity in the spelling of the word peitrel. Entered in items 



C B 



connected with a Smithfield joust, 1442, are both pertelles 

and peotrell . 

CJhaucer is likely to have been familiar with the 
pentaungel , the ancient symbol of the Pythagorians, parti¬ 
cularly in view of the popular legendary concerning it and as 
a continental traveller, he would have heard of tule from 
place-name. G-oule was a common f terme de blazon* in French 
ohivalry and laohet , GGK 591, is given as a synonym for loupe . 
Skyrt in context is clearly an item of dress or equipment and 
Chaucer himself has sherte , O.E. scyrte , meaning * night attire' 
(feminine in this case) in T. and C ., iv, 96. 

Ennourned is a word which calls for some comment. 

The context is; 

Gawan wat3 for gode knawen and as golde pured, 

Yoyded of vche vylany, wyth vertue3 ennourned 

in "mote; 

lines 633-5 

According to Gollancz* glossary, the translation is; 
'with virtues adorned among men of chivalry'; according to 
TG, 'with virtues adorned in castle*. Stratman under mot , 
sb., 0.1* mot , OoH* mot ; meeting, assembly, cites the word in 
GGK, 910. It would seem that it also occurs in GGK, 635, and 
Morris for this word gives 'moot, assemblage, meeting* A.S. 
mjot, for 635 and 910. See examples also in Q. and M ., 466; 

Rel. Ant ., 219; Lay., 12665; T.C. Horn ., 85. The O.F.D . 
under moat gives no examples of the word being used as Gollancz 
translates, but cites GGK , 635, under'castle'. 

153. See Analogues of Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrimage , ed. 

R.E.G. Kirk and F.J. Furnivall, Chaucer Society, Kegan 
Paul, London, 1905, P. 30. 

i - 4 

: „ i */io 

*_i J - 












« ' t ./. 1 



M.E.D . has enournen , v., (op. o.F# aourner ’arrange* 
from Lat. adordinare and ’deoorate’ from Lat. adomare ) and 
under 4 (a) to endow or exalt, gives GGE , 635. A better 
translation would be, then, ’with virtues endowed in assembly’. 

Alternatively, the O.E.D. terms eno(u)rn an altered 
form of ano(u)rn - the result of analogy of Frenoh words en-. 
Ano(u)rn , according to the O.E.D ., was confused with anoure , 
termed by the O.E.D . an early by-form of honor , and in con¬ 
sequence had two meanings, ’adorn’ and ’adore’. Stratman, for 
example, under honouren , v., O.F. honorer , cites anourest , 

Shor., 96; anourede , Wyol ., Gen. xix, i, etc. Chaucer uses 
the word in anhouryng . Parson’s Tale , 688. (Cited in M.E.D. 
Robinson and Pollard editions have ’adowrynge’). o.E.D . gives 
So. Leg. St. Theodore , xxx, 666, ennornyt meaning ’adored’. 

The IUO.S.T . gives the same translation under enourn , ennorn , 
v (8): ’to adore, show respect to f . The translation would 
then be* *with virtues adored in the meeting-hall’. 

French words are also used in connection with building 
and architecture. But here, as might be expected, native and 
Scandinavian words also occur. 

Chaucer himself gives relatively few architectural 

descriptions of the kind of castle described by the Gawain 


poet. The tower into which Theseus is thrown, the dungeon 


which Palamon and Aroite occupy, and the ’maister-tour’ in 


which King Cambyuskan’s gifts are stored are briefly described. 

154. L.G.W ., vi, 1960-65. 

155. CUT., A 1056-61. 

156. C.T., F 236. 

c - c 

< < < 


In Tile Book of the Duohess , 1318-9, we are told only of a 

’ long oast el with walles whyte ... on a riohe hil ’. The more 

detailed descriptions belong to his early period in The 

Romance of the Rose and The House of Fame where, apart from 

the word pinacles which also appears in GGK, there is nothing 

of special significance to us* 

In GGK , on the other hand, the Green Knight’s castle 

is profusely decorated with battlemented walls, watch-towers 

and f chalk whjrt chymnees’ which apparently did exist in 


fourteenth century England. 

But if Chaucer does not use many architectural and 

building terms in his work, his duties as Clerk of the King’s 

Works must have made him familiar with a technical vocabulary. 

In the Latin account of the King’s ’dead store’, handed over 

by Chauoer in 1391, are several items such as mattok , picois 

and wynchepyn which he must have known but which do not appear 

in his works. 

The following building terms appear in GGK but are 
not found in Chaucer’s workss 

BARBICAN, sbs ’outer fortification’. C.F* barbacane . Well 
attested in M*E. See K. Alis ., 1591; Sir Fir. , 3170; C.M ., 
9903; Promp. Parv., 83'.' Barbaoanes is described extensively 
in Le Roman de La Rose , p. 216. See also the glossary of 
Fayttes of Ames and of Chyvalry which quotes (without addi¬ 
tional3 ornment^ycotgrave; !, A case-mate or hole in a parapet 

.♦.and thereupon our Chaucer useth the word Barbican for a 

157. See Hudson Turner, Some Account of Domestic Architecture 
in the Middle Ages , Oxford, 19537^* 137., and Tolkien~~ 
and Gordon, 0£. Git ., p. 95. Pons, Ojd. Cit ., p. 30, 
however states that ^the architecture is ’ par excellence 
oelle de la France a la fin du KIT siecle ’. 

158. See Documents in R.E.G. Kirk, Op. Git ., p. 307. 







{ * 







watchtower whion in the Saxon tongue was called a borough- 
kenning." No line reference is given in Cotgrave and 
barbican is not ascribed to Chaucer in the O.E.D., M.E.D.• 
Stratman, the Chauoer Lexioon or various editions of Chaucer*s 

BASTEL, sbs *tower*. O.F. bastille . See Lay ,, 382/22; 

Alex, G t> 1161; D, Jer .. 678; D, Troy ,, 9590. 

BIGES, vs f builds*. O.N. byggja, cognate with O.E. buian: 
to dwell. Still means *build* in Scandinavian and northern 
dialeots - O.E.D. See Row and Ver., 44/273; Bruce, v, 453; 
Promp, Parv ., 55, and biggi ngs a building, in Gen. and Ex., 

Slb3; CTmT, 1774; D. Troy , xxv, 13452. 

BHEDE3, sb; *boards*. O.E. bred . See Lam. Horn ., 11; C.M ., 

16578; Patience , 184; Promp♦ Parv ., 48. 

COPROTJNES, sbs f tops , . O.E. oouperon . See Purity , 1461, 
and Promp, Parv ., 94, only. The word also refers to the 
ornamented topof the lid of a vessel - Promp. Parv. 

DOSER, sb; ♦ornamented cloth used to cover tne back of a seat*. 
O.F. dossier . In Chauoer, H. of E ., 1940, see dossers : 

baskets. For doser meaning *chair back* see sir Fir ., 1340; 

E.E. Wills, 46/20 and Priv. Purs. Exp. Eliz. of York , 242/2. 

DRA3T, sbs *drawbridge*. O.N. drattr . O.E. * draeht . The 
O.E.D. gives GGK as the only text where the word occurs meaning 
♦drawbridge*,~&ufing the 14th. century. Chauoer, B. of D ., 

682, has draughte meaning *a move in chess*. 

ELN3EKDE, sb; * ell-rod*. O.E. eln s 45 ins. and gerd s yard, 
stick. Yerde s stick, occurs in Chaucer, T. and C ., li, 1427. 
For ell see C.M ., 1675; Gen, and Ex ., 586, etc. 

FYLY0LE3, sbs *round towers*. O.F. filloele . GGK is the 
only work cited during the 14th. century. 

FYLOR, sbs *grind-stone*. Aphetic foim of O.F. affiloir - 
Gollancz. O.F. affile and fil (a thread) or O.F. afiloir - 
O.E.D .. Does not occur elsewhere in the 14th. century. 

FLST(TE), sb: * floor*. O.E. flet . Savage ( M.L.N ., lix, 

1944, p. 349) states that the word does not necessarily mean 
floor but the *inner halfe of the hous*. See Arth. and M.» 

7010; Guy , 2001 Sir Fir ., 5172; kTAIIs ., 2879. 

GARYTE3, sbs *watchtowers*. O.F. garite . See Prioke of Q ,, 
9101; M. Arth ., 562; Bev., A 1658. 

MOTE, sb; *castle*. O.F. mote . See Lang. P.P ., B 595; 

Mann. Chron ., 145; Pricke of Q ., 88961 Alex. Q ., 3831. 

RUDELE3, sbs *ourtain*. O.F. ridel . See Sir Fir ., 2537; 








B.E. Wills, 5/19 only. 

STANCE, sb? 'pole'. O.N. atong , cognate with O.E. staeng . 

See C.M * , 24029 and the vero meaning *to pierce with a pole* 
in Pncke of G «, 5293; Mand., ii, 7 and C.M ., 22014, 

STAPLED, pp; 'furnished with clasps*. O.E. stapol. See C.M *, 
8288; S.S., 201; Trey. T Tlg .» 273; Sir Fir .. 2131. 

TELDE, sb. and v: 'dwelling, to set up, pitch*. O.E* teld, 
teldian. Both sb. and v. are well attested in M*E. See Lang. 
P.P., A 1144; Alex. C., 3860; K. Alls.. 1975; D. Troy, 

I0S3. - 

TKESTE3, sb: 'trestles*. o.F. treste - Collanoz. 0*F. 
trestel, acc. pi. trestez - 0*E.D. See Goer de L., 102; 

S.S. 3874; B.E. Wills . 102/78: B.B., 326/822; 311/389. 

Of the eighteen words just considered, barbican , 
bastel , biges , brede3 , eln5erde , flet , garytes , mote , stange , 
stapled , telde , sb. and y., tresteS are likely to have been 
familiar to Ghauoer on account of their usage during the 
period. Draot - "pay let doun pe grate dra3t and derely out 
3eden ", GGK 817, and fylor - " fyled with a fylor" , GGK 2225, 
are clear in context. Rudele3 Chaucer might have known from 
his reading or fran his journeys in France or from the con¬ 

RudeleS rennande on ropeS, red golde rynge5 , 

Tapyteff ty5t to pe wo5e, of Tuly & Tars , - aCK , 857-8, 

Goprounes and fylyoleS , which have come through to modern 
French as couperon and filleule , are among the terms cited 
by Pons ( 0p o Git ., p. 152) as indicating a knowledge of 
fourteenth century French architecture. It seems therefore 
reasonable to suggest that Ghaucer would have known coprounea 
and fylyoleS . In view of the usage, Ghaucer would probably 
have known the alternative meaning for doser, and he would De 
assisted by the contexts " And hit wat3 don abof pe dece, on 
doser to henge" . - ggk , 478. 


t * 

c ...... c 





The French element in GGK is extensive but the 
description of Gawain f s equipment, the castle and the 
hunting episodes account for a large proportion of the Frenoh 
loan words. Remaining are a few terms that are likely to have 
been used in an aristooratio household, one adverb, some verbs, 
adjectives and nouns used mainly as synonyms. The following 
words from the old Frenoh are not found in Chaucer's works: 

ABELEF, adv: 'crosswise' . O.F. a belir. Late Lat. bisliquus: 
obliquus . Occurs only in GGK. 

ACOLE, v: 'embraces'. O.F. aooler from a and col : neck. See 
0. and JM . , 205; Wyol .. Gen, xxxiii, 4; A.R . fl Ho. Bev., 42b 
has AcoleeY embrassement , is in“THe glossary of Le 

Roman de La Rose , p. 199. 

AEELEDE, 'puffed or snorted after'. O.F. aneler. Lat. anhelare. 
The M»E.D . and the O.E.D . cite GGK as the only text where the 
word occurs during tlie period. 

BAY, adj. 'rounded'. For GGK., 967, Brett ( M.L»R . viii, 1913, 
p. 163) suggests a connection with bay as in bay window: Hlr 
buttoke3 bay and brode . F. bale . Lat. baia . The earliest 
record of this use in the O.E.D . is in 1429. Trev. nig ,, 

1865 has bay meaning 'rounded projection of land jutting out 
into the sea'. Pons and TG alter the reading to ba!5 . 

BEUERAGE, sb: 'drink'. O.F. bev rage , see Coer de L . , 4365; 
Lang. P.F . , A lo9; Purity , 1433; End ., xii,” 141". 

BLUK, sb: 'body, trunk'. O.F. bloc . The word is not used in 
this sense elsewhere during the period. Gollancz, p. 103, 
states: "Onions (N.Q. cxlvi. 244) suggests that this is an 
early (miswritten) example of 'bulk' which, in the sense of 
'trunk of the body' ousted ' bouk *, O.E. buo, in English areas 
in the 15th. century. It may also be a miswriting of O.F. bloc , 
originally a large piece of wood and used for the trunk of the 
body by Coverdale, or a blend of the two words”. Chaucer, C.T .» 
A2746, has bouk. 

BONCHEF, sb: 'good fortune*. O.F. bon & chef: head. Hence 
opposed to and perhaps formed on analogy with meschief - O.E.D . 
Chaucer has mesohief , C.T., A 2551. See bone he f also in Trev . 
Chron., 87. 

BOWELES, sb: 'bowels'. O.F. bouel . Well attested in M.E. 

See K. Alis .. 4668; Gower, C.A .» ii, 265; Wyol. Philemon , 18: 
Trev. Barth ., xxliii and B. of St. A ., e iii. 

BRAYEH, v: 'cry out*. O.F. braire. See C.M., 22607; Sir 

■. ? ; t 

. . -O . : ' . : 

.. o 



Fir., 3669; Gower, C. A. , i, 3027. See braire also in Gower, 

M., 2807 and the glossary of Le Roman de La Rose , p. 22TT 

COUNDUTES, sb: ’songs 1 . O.F. conduite. Gollanoz (p. 119) 
states tnat the oonduit was composed of a tenor part with two 
added desoants. See 0. and N ., 483 and the glossary of Le 
Roman de La Rose, p. 235 where it is defined as ’sorte de 
oantique qui se~ohantoit en marchant ’. G.O. Chapman, P.M.L.A ., 
I9'39 r , xlvi, p. 179, states that by mid 14th. century the oon- 
ductus had been entirely abandoned. On the other hand the 
Conoise Oxford Dictionary of Musio states that the conduotua 
was used from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. 

CONABLE, adj: ’affable, pliant’. O.F. convenable. See Bruoe, 
v, 266; Mand ., xlv; Promp. Parv ., 89. 

DEPRECE, v: ’release’. Q.F. despresser : to free from prison; 
despriser: to let out of prison. The C.2.D. gives only 
depress from O.F. depresser : to subjugate. 

DEPRECED, v: ’pressed’. O.F. depresser , Lat. depressare . 

See Pearl 77 and Trev. Chron., Chaucer has depressioun from 
Lat. depressionem "in Astrolabe , part 2, 25, lU~. 

DUT, sb: ’joy*. Shortened form of O.F. dedute , deduite . 

Chaucer has deduyt , c.T ., A 2177. Gower , C.A., ill, 371, has 

ENFOUBLED, pp. ’wrapped’. O.F. enfubler , Lat. infibulare ; to 
buckle in,- O.E.D . Of. A.F. afubler : to put on clothes, - 
M.E.D. Does not occur elsewhere during the period. Afubler is 
given 'in the glossary of Le Roman de La Rose , p. 202, and 
according to Littre the word was used in France, from the 11th. 
to 16th* centuries. 

ENK1R, adj: ’vivid’. O.F. energy inked, - O.E.D. TG trans¬ 
late as ’very’, O.N. einker . Gollancz states that enker grene 
is clearly the poet’s translation of ’ vert encre ’. The form is 
not found elsewhere in M.E. In Gollancz’ view the color is not 
dark green but vivid. Pons translates ’ eolatant ’. Enkerly, 
meaning ’specially’, is cited by Stratman in M. "Arth ., 507, 

2222, and Bruce., i, 92. 

FERE, adj: ’undaunted’. O.F. fer, fier - O.E.D . O.N. faerr - 
Gollancz. See R. and Qt ., 69; Guy , 1428; Sir Fir ., 329. 

FYLTER, v: ’join in strife’. O.F. feltrer . See Smare , 540; 

M. Arth ., 2149; Ipom ., 6147; Purity7 X689. 

GRTO, sb: »whit». O.F. gru ; grain. O.E.D. states that there 
is no instance in M.E . of gru as ’particle’. Morris equates 
the word with gre from F. grg" , Lat. gratus , but TG and Gollancz 
accept a French derivation. Savage, P.M.L.A ., slvi, p. 176, 
states that the word occurs in St. Erk ., 319, as ’whit’ in ’not 
a whit longer’. 


4 « 

t * 












t t * 

T - 





MELLY, sb; ’battle*. O.F. melle© # See Bruoe., xvii, 180: 

Yw., 504 and the glossary of Le Roman de La Rose , p. 413. 

PRAYERS* sb; *meadow*. O.F. pra(i) ere . The glossary of Le 
Roman de La Rose has praiau ; prfee T P. 442. Gower, M., has 

QUELDSPOYNTES, sb; * quilted work*. O.F. ouiltepointe; 
pierced quilt. According to the o.E.D., the word appears in 
a will of 1386 recorded in T. Madox* Formulare Anglioanum. 

For quilt see Bev ., 3996; Map . , 5347 S. Leg .,T88. ~~ 

QfTIT-CLAYME, v; *renounce*. O.F. quiteclamer. See Guy. 6654; 
and Maim. Chron. , 186. Chaucer has quitly," C. T.. A 1752. 
meaning * freely*, and quit *set free* in T. & 0., iv, 77. 
According to the O.E.D . quit-clayme does not appear on the 
Parliamentary Rolls tintil TCbd. 

RAYLSD, v; *displayed itself*, Q.F. reiller. See W. of P., 
161.8 * M. Arth ., 5264 0 — -— 

R3F0UHME, v; f draw up again*. O.F. reformer. O.E.D. has *to 
convert into another and different form*. TG translate 
* restate*. See Gower, C.A., i, 3035; Ayenbite, 81; Y/yel., 
Phil, iii, 21. 

REST1Y1D, v; ’restrained*. O.F. resteir. See Gower, M.. 

1005; Pearl , 437. - — 

SANA?, sb; ’napkin*. O.F. *sauvenape. See Mand., xxvi; 

Sir Degr., 1387; B.S. Wills ,"56/86; 101/24. 

SALURE, sb; * salt-cellar*^ O.F. sqliere . See B.B., 102/2; 
Goer de L . 3 1099 and Littre" who cites the word in 13th. and 
l4th. century French romances. 

SEUER, v; ’part*. O.F. sevrer . See Wyol., Gen , xxv, 6; 

Trev. Hig ., vii, 507; and the glossary of Le Roman de La 
Rose , p. 466. 

SYFLE3, v; ’blows*. O.F. sif ler . "It may be connected with 
provincial English, suffe; "To pant, blow, A.S* siofian ; to 
mourn, lament, - Morris“ Occurs only in Pearl , 470, during 
the period. But see Gower , M., 5511 for sTffler . Littre 
cites its use from the l3th. century in France. 

SPEOTE, sb; ’quickset hedge*. O.F. espinei . See Alex. Q ., 
4162 only. The glossary of Le Roman 'de La Rose , p* "570, has 
espinoi ; cloture faite d*€pines . 

TYFFEN, v; ’arrange*. O.F. tiffer . See A.R. , 420; X. Alia ., 
4109; Mann , H.S. , 2201; W. of P. , 1725. 




? * 

« * 



~ . EfT 7 " - 





TOWCff(ES), sbj 'hint', 1301; 'musical notes', 120; 'covenants 
(made by striking hands), 1667*. O.F. touche. Does not ooour 
elsewhere in the period in the sense of GGK , 120, and 1667. 
Chaucer, T. and C ., v, 443, has; 

Norin this world there i3 non instrument 

DeliciousV "thorugh wynd or touche of cor'de . 

TRAMMES, sb; 'stratagems'. O.F. tram : woof. The sense of 
machination was already adopted in "the 14th. century - O.E.D. 

See patience . 101; Alex. C ., 127. The glossary of Le Roman 
de La Rose has tramis ; sorte de filet pour la pecheY mais T "il 
esY~ici au figur#, and traimel trame, occurring in the 
T r est~atnent' of JAde Meung , 1894, in Vie sense of ' plot '. 

UNBMS, adjs 'cheerless*. TG suggest a derivation of Q.F. 
b(i)en with prefix. The O.B.D . and Gollancz suggest the word 
is from BENE , also in GGK , meaning 'pleasant, kindly', 
etymology obscure. See also Pearl , 198 and Patienc e, 418. 

YAYRBS, in vayres g 'in truth'. O.F. en veires . See K. Alls ., 
1000 and Arth. and M., 7640. The glossary of Le Roman de La 
Rose , p. 486, gives vair g vrai , and vaire ; vraiment , with * 
four occurrences in Le Roman. 

In this group of thirty-six words, acole , beuerage , 
boweles , brayen , coundutes , cenable , enfoubled . fere , fylter . 
melly , refourme , sanap , salure , seuer , syfle3 , tyffen , trammes 
and vayres would probably have been familiar to Chaucer be¬ 
cause of their usage either in England or France during the 


Since Chaucer has embelif f meaning 'oblique', he 
would probably have understood abelef . Q.uit-clayme he would 
have known as a legal term. In GGK 1219, deprec e clearly 
means 'release' and, In GGK 6 and 1770, 'subjugate'. Anelede , 
bluk , rayled and resteyed are clear in context and Chaucer 
would have known prayere in context, aided as he would have 
been by his familiarity with similar words used in French 

159. See Robinson, Op . Cit ., p. 1070 

t c 

C ' t 


< * 



i ' e 



texts. in GGK 130 appears to refer to wind rather 

than string instruments hut the sense is clear. In 1677, 
however, where Gollancz has the translation 'covenants*, 
there is no reason to infer that Chaucer would have under¬ 
stood the word from the context. The meaning of honchief 
is self evident and whether the derivation of bene is from 
the French or even direct from the Latin, the sense of unbone 
is clear. Since aphetic forms were common, spenne might have 
been understood by Chaucer, particularly in context, and in 
view of its usage, derivation and context, queldepoyntes 
should not have constituted any problem. Chaucer 1 s trans¬ 
lation of bay , GGK 867, and of enker in enker grene , 150, 

2477, would have been as good as anyone else*s but dut and 
grwe might have proved difficult. The context does not help 
in either dut or grwe . As far as has been established dut 
does not occur elsewhere during the period and grwe occurs 
only in St. Erkenwald . 

Apart from the French element which is mainly technical, 

one of the most significant of the groups of words in GGK , not 

found in Chaucer*s works,, may be termed *poetic*. Such words 

are either archaic, based largely on the native foundations of 

160. See E. Legouis & L* Casamian, A History of English 

Literature . Dent, London, 1950"; Fons (Op. Git , 24) 
remarks on * la tendence a archaise qui prevaut d*un bout 
a 1*autre du~oeme *. HulbertV P.H.L«A ., 1951, xxviii, 
p. 405 ff. remarks on the archaio nature of GGK . Court- 
hope, A History of English Poetry, MacMillan, London , 
189o, i, p. 350, feels that *a praisewortny enthusiasm 
for the ancient relics of the language* has perhaps 
exaggerated the poetic merits of Pearl - a work where 
many of the same words appear. See also Kane, (Op. Cit., 

p. 188). 


. i. sp ■_ 

c - 



heroio poetry and belonging to the tradition whioh the Gawain 

poet inherited, or they are taken from Scandinavian sources 
and are words currently circulating in the romances. This 
vocabulary is particularly rich in synonymous words and 
phrases which can be used for alliterative purposes and con¬ 
tributes also towards the remote otherworldliness which is 

one of the most distinctive features of the poem. As Miss 

Everett remarks, whenever the poet wishes to curdle the blood 
with indefinable terrors, he chooses ancient words belonging 
to the vocabulary of alliterative poetry. 

The following words belonging to the poetic vocabulary 
of GGK do not appear in Chaucers 

A&EEE, adj? 'noble*. O.E. aegel . Favorite word of the 
alliterative poets both as adj. and sb. See A.R., 46b; 0. and 

N. , 633; Win, and last ., 68; Lay. Brut ., lOUSTjf Pari . 3457 

ASTIT, advs 'suddenly*. Chiefly northern; besides the 
obvious import as tlte , it has the sense 'immediately* - 
aussiiot , - Q.B.D . See Trist ., 633; Amis and A ., 1046 for tit 
from O.E. tftr , and Lang. P.P ., B xvi, 1T1; LitTbes. , 784; 

Bev., 0/2384 for as tlte , (spelled variouslyTT 

AUNCIAN, adj. & sbs 'of great age' 'the elderly one'. O.F. 
aunoien . Hot used much in England oefore the 15th. century - 

O. E.D. The use of the adj. as the absolute in GGK 946 is a 
favorite devise of the alliterative poets, according to Oakden 
( Op . Cit., ii, p. 894). See Alex. Q ., 1003, Ipom , i, 4371, 
pTl. Sowle . 45o, 80b; Hand ., viii, 95. 

161. eg. burn, drepen , dry3hten , etayn , fax, feye etc. all 
appear in Beowulf. 

163. See Oakden, Allit. Poetry in M»E ., ii> P* 187. 


D. Everett, Op. Pit ., p. 83 




BAL3, adj? ? O.E.D. refers to O.E. be!3 ? bag/belly. 

M.E.D . gives 0>£!7 bael5 , W.So byl3 ? bag/bellows. TG give O.E. 
balg and translate f swelling with round srnootn surfaced 
Cakcien (Ibid., ii, p. 177) states that balgne (O.E* beig ) is a 
feature of alliterative verse, occurring in Alex. C•, 4923 and 
Pari ., 123. (In the latter, it is glossed as ♦swelling out, 
full in shape*). Chaucer has belly (O.E. baeli3 ) but Gollanoz 
sees no reason for linking the two words and considers the GGK 
word may be related to O.N. ball ? a soft grassy bank. He 
therefore translates •smooth 1 . 

BARET, sb; •strife 1 . O.F. barat. O.N. barratta may have 
influenced the English word. Well attested in M.E., occurring 
in alliterative phrase, baret and bale , in W. of P ., 5517; 

Alex. C ., 4620 etc. See A.R .. 42a: Ayenbite ., 59; Hand. 
161/14. Perc ., 265 has baratour - mischief-maker. 

BLYKKED, v? •glistened 1 O.E. blican , blician ? to shine. 
Blusoh may be from the same root* blTk : to shine. See A.R ., 
562; Alex. B ., 411: Purity , 603. Morris ( Op. Cit ., p.l2o) 
quotes from the lyric poem? f hire bleo blyketh so bryht 1 . 

BLONEC, sb? ‘horse 1 . O.E. blanca ? white horse, cf. O.N. 
blakkr ? steed, - O.E.D . See V/. of P ., 3526; Alex. A . » 435; 
Alex. G ., 749; Pari ., 110. 

BLUSCH, v? •gleam, look 1 . O.E. blyscan ? blush, shine forth 
(in allit. poetry). Oakden ( Op. Cit' .', ii, p. 177) refers to 
the word as ‘exclusively alliterative 1 . Morris ( Op. Cit ., 
p. 125) compares ‘at first blush 1 and Dan. blusse ? to blaze, 
flame, glow. See J. of Arim ., 657; D. Troy , 4465; Alex. C ., 
872; M. Arth . 4665. 

BUHNE, sb? ‘man 1 . O.E. Beorn ? warrior. According to Oakden 
( Op. Cit ., ii, p. 183) the word is found in all the allitera¬ 
tive poems except three. See Lang. P.P ., A ii. 256 etc. 

BUSKE, v? ‘hasten, prepare*. O.N. buask . Used in 1 buske to 
batell 1 etc. See Lang. P.P., B ix. !$$• Trist., 1411 fgV., 
348; Alex. C ., 373. 

COFLY, adv? ‘boldly 1 . O.E. oaflice . Widely used. See 0. 
and N ., 379; Bey ., 1825; K. Alls ., 207. 

BERF-LY, adj. and adv? ‘bold-ly 1 . O.N. djarfr , djarfliga . 
Common in alliterative phrase ‘ derfli dede 1 etc. See A.R . 

114; Alex C. , 2942; Avowing ., liv; Or in.", 9752. 

DOUTH(E), sb? ‘oompany 1 O.E. dugob . Oakden (Ibid., ii, 
p. 178) commenting on the word in Pari ., 348, terms it ‘a 
survival chiefly in alliterative verse, especially in the 
14th. century 1 . He adds that the word, being very archaic, 
was rejected by the later scribe of Lay. Brut . See Lay ., 


t * 


1819; 0, and N ., 634; Misc., 133. 

DREPED, vs ’killed*. O.E. drepan s smite. O.N. drepa ; 
kill. Oakden (Ibid., p. 86) cites the word as a poetic verb 
common to alliterative writers. See Pari., 379; Purity, 

246; D. of Troy . 929; Alex. 0. . 867. 

DRY3TYM, sbs ’The Lord’. O.E. dryhten . Evidence suggests 
the O.E. poetic word persisted fairly strongly in M.E. See 
Orm, 2; Lang. P.P .. B xiii, 269; King Horn , 1310. 

ERDE, sbs ’land’. O.E. eard . Widely used in early M.E. 
and in phrases as ’ in erde ’s actually. See A.R ., 97 a; 

0. and N ., 460; Gen, and Ex .. 3t>3; Lang. P.p . , A 7. 190. 

ETAYN, sbs ’giant f . O.E. eoten. SeeTrist., 950; Alex. 

0., 47545; Gen, and Ex . . 545; C»M . , 7445. 

FAS, sbs ’hair’. O.E. feax. See Bev., A/2244; Degare, 

783; Lay., 21873; Town7 7TV4/242. - 

FETE, adjs ’doomed to die’. O.E* faege . See Lang. P.P .. 

0 xvli; Bey .„ 3032; Shor., 124. 

FELL, sbs ’hill’. O.N. fjail . Widely used in alliterative 
phrase. See A.R., 120; Ayenbite.. 210; 0. and N.» 830; 

Yw., 2711. 

FERKEE, vs ’hasten’ O.E. feroian, faeroian . Oakden (Ibid., 
li, p. 183) states that the word is in all' the purely 
alliterative poems except four. Morris ( 0p» Git ., p. 146) 
says the verb seems to be related to firks a quick movement 

- O.E. frioian s to dance. See Gower, C.A . viii, 603; 

Lang. R,R» , iij 90. 

FYKED, vs ’flinched’. May be from Scan, fikja s to bustle 

- Q.E.D . and Stratman. From O.E. * fycian , of, befician - 
TG. See A.R ., 206; Coer de L ., 4749; Best ., 53^. 

FLAT, sbs *a plain’. O.N. tlatr . Chaucer, K.R., 7042, has 
’ with deynte flawnes brode and flat ’ and in T. and C. , iv, 

927 refers to the ’flat’ of the sword. The word was in 
place names by 1167 ( English Place Names Soo ., 5, 326). See 
Bev., 1040; W. of P ., 4414; D. Troy .V~l6‘C0~4. 

FOLDE, sbs ’earth’. O.E. folde . Frequent in alliterative 
phrase. See Alex. C., 3623; 7 /. of P., 5382; Lang. P.P. B. 

xii, 255; M. Arth ., 2151. 

FREKB, sbs ’man*. O.E. freca . Oakden ( Op. Git ., ii, p. 

183) states that this word, frequent in alliterative phrase 
such as frek to fare , appears in all the alliterative poems 
except four. See Lang. P.P ., B iv, 12. 


t * 



t * 



* I 

t 4 * 0 • 





FRYTH, ab: ’wood*. O.E. fyrhj) . Popular in alliterative 
phrase: * in feld, in frith *, *frythes and forestes *, 

* fowles in the frith *7 See Lang, ?,P , , B xii, 219; C x, 

2124; V/7 of P .,' AwntyrsT , 50: Lay ,, 31996. 

GART, v: * caused 1 O.N, ger(v)a: to cause to do - O.E.D.. 
and TG. Gollancz gives ctlHgora. See Lang. p.p., B xx, 56: 
C.M . , 17160; W, of P tt 2793; Hand., iilY 8. Town ., iv, 104. 

GYNG, sb: *troop* O.N. gengi , O.E. genge. Widely used for 
various types of oompany. See Lam. Horn., Id7 5 K. Alia., 932j 
Goer de L ., 4976; Map ., 346. 

GLAUER, sb: 1 noise of voices 1 . The O.E.D . distinguishes the 
word from glave r and gives only one other example of glauer, 
in Alex, c 7» bb04. Morris and TG associate the wsrd with 
mod. dial, glaver . glaiver : to talk foolishly, stratman 
cites GGK under glaveren, v., ? Welsh glafru; chatter etc., 
occurring in Wycl., E.w. 330; M. Arth., 2536; pi. or., 51: 
Pearl , 668. 

GLAUM, sb: - TG. adj: - Gollancz. v: - Stratman. TG 
remark: "MS., glaumande gle . There is no evidence of a 
verb formed from O.N. glaum f a merry noise*. Glaum ande gle 
forms a phrase of the common type of alliterating synonyms; 
cf. gdam and gle , 1652, and the common gamen and gle ." 
Gollancz and Stratman keep to the MS. Stratman has *make a 
noise*; Gollancz has , noisy*. GLAM , sb. *merry noise*, O.N. 
glamm , occurs in GGK , 1426, 1652, - glauer ande glam , glam 
and gle . Glam occurs also in Purityj 499 etc, and Alex. G . 

55 047 Chaucer has gomen and gle in Sir Thopas , 203(57 


GLY3T, v: *look*. These two words are associated together 
as equivalents of glent , used by Chaucer, T. and 0 ., iv, 1223. 
Their derivation is unknown. Glyfte also occurs in Purity , 
849; Mann ., H.S., 3590 and M. Arth ., 2525. 

30MERLY, adv: *piteously f . O.E. geomorlioe . Adj. 5eomer , 
3eomer-lic , and adv. are very common in religious works. See 
St. MarhT T Ayenbite , 215; 0. and N ., 415; Lay ., 24942; 

Awntyrs ., vii. 

HERE, sb: •assembly*. O.E. here . Exists in compounds from 
Beowulf to 0. and N., 1702; Lay., 8601. See also K. Alls., 
2101; G.M.~lS~507~r Havel ., 346; Gen, and Ex ., 1187. 

HERSUM, adj: *noble* - Gollancz, from O.E. her: exalted, 
noble. * devout f - TG, O.E.D ., Madden and Morris, from O.E. 
hersurn , hiers um, ready to hear, obedient. Oaxden ( op. Git ., 
ii, p. 188) cites hersum in GGK as an archaism and translates 
•devout*, O.E. hersum . Gollancz* word does not occur else¬ 
where. For hersum * devout* see Lay ., 19395; Orm ., 2534; 

Lam. Horn ., 1175; Got. Yes ., ii, 51. 






t ■■■ • t 


t * 





HEUENRICHE, sb: ’kingdom of heaven’* o.E. heofonrice. 
Oakden (Ibid., p. 122) remarks that heuenriolie was a common 
M.E. poetio word. See A.R . , 150; Rel. Ant * , 209: Orm., 
2153; Gower, 0,A .» ii, 3l50 etc* Chaucer has hevene, C.T., 
A 519. - 

HI STL Y, adv; ’pleasantly’. O.E, hyhtlioe * TO translate 
’fitly’. The sb. is more frequent than the adv. in M.E. 

See 0. and N. , 372; Orm*. 3816; Alex. C., 5313; Sir Fir., 
2782 ^ — - 

KAYHE, v; ’journey’. Popular synonym for ’to go’. O.N. 
keyra . See Lang. P.P ., B. Prol. 29; Alex* A ., 623; Lang , 
R.R . , iii, 3(52; Pari ., 246. C.A. Luttrell, ( Neophilologus , 
xxxix, p. 209), criticises the amendment of carye to cayre3, 
GQ-K s line 734, by TO and Gollancz and states"That’ M.E. 
oarien in the sense of cairen f to ride, journey, go’ occurs 
frequently, - see Lang. F.P ., A. Prol . 29; S. of Jer . 255 

KNAPE, sb; ’man’. O.E. cnapa . See Orm., 4106; Gen, and 
Ex., 2573; Gower, C.A. viii, 1374; S.3.* 930; Arth. and M.. 

LAYK, sb. and v; ’sport, play’. O.N. leikr, leika. Of wide 
distribution. See Havel ., 1021; pero ., I704; ITex. C ., 

5480;- Orm., 2166; Lang . P.?., B xiv, 243. 

LAYT, v; ’seek’. O.N. leita , the equivalent of O.E, 
wlatian; behold, - O.E.D . Frequent in alliterative works. 
See Trist ., 3052; Alex. Q ., 152; pero ., 255; Orm ., 3457. 

LEUDE/LEBE, sb; ’man, people, nation’ 

LEUDLES, sb; ’companionless’. 

The M.E^ word represents three different but closely 
related words, leod : people; leod; men; rood ; a man. 

Oakden ( Op. Git ., p. 575) in a list of alliterative phrases 
occurring in Chaucer’s works and collected by O.F. McClumpha 
( The Alliteration of Chaucer , Leipzig - not dated) gives lond 
and~"Tede - ’a very common alliterative phrase in M.E. Oakden 
( Ibid . , "p. 365) states that a few of the 350 alliterative 
phrases used by Chaucer are of interest and adds; f, such as 
hyde and hele and londes and ledes , the presence of which in 
Chaucer’s writings" is remarkable’*.’ 

Lede is not in the Chaucer Concordance, neither is it in the 
glossaries of Skeat’s Student Chaucer , Skeat’s Chaucer ; the 
Minor Poems, Robinson , A.W. pollard’s The Works of Chaucer . 
Skeat’s Complete VIorks of Chaucer has no glossary but led e 
is not referred io in the notes."" The word occurs frequently 

c * 

? * 

c a . .* t 




% * 



in M.E, See Lang, P.P, , B 522; Flor., 715; M. Arth., 994; 

W. of P ., 452* 

LYFTE, 3 b: ’sky, heaven*. O.E. lyft , Very well attested 
in the homilies etc. See Lam* Horn *, 79; St* Marh ., 9; A*R * 

244; Gower, G, A * * i, 27b; Lang, P*P *, B xv, Sol. 

LYMPED, v: •Happen*. O.E. limpan * See A»R ., 10; J* of Arim ., 
215; Purity, 174; St* Marh ., 4; Avowing *, xlviii.“ 

LyIeN, v: ’listen*. O.N. hlySa . Used as an alternative 
opening to *listen* in ballads eto. See Lang* P.P , , B viii, 

55; Havel., 1400; M. Arth., 575; Gen. and Ex.V 2077; K* 

Alis */ 57%1* 

MAYN, adj: ’mighty* O.E. maegen . No less than 16 different 
M.2. texts are cited by 0akden ( Cp* Pit *, ii, 332) in which 
the alliterative phrase * might and main * occurs. In Bev *, for 
example, it occurs three "times: 1022/ '3437 and 3444. 

MEX!* v: ’speak, talk*. O.E. maelan. Widely attested in 
M.E. See Orm., 2919; G.M. , 27£l4; Bev., 1243; Trist., 15b; 

M* Artn ., 9W. “ “ - 

MSNSKE, adj., adv., sb., pp: ’worshipful, honorably, honor, 
adorned*. O.N. mennska . Morris ( Op. Pit ., p. 172) refers to 
A.S. mennlso : human, and north, prov* English: mense : to 
grace/ 'deck*. See Amis and A*. 690: Sir Degr., Trist., 

2188; Perc ., 1423; A.R., 38. 

O.E. maere . 

MERE, adj: ’renowned, noble*./See Got. Horn. , 221; Orm. , 

806; Lay., 27877; Yfright., 26. 

MYNNE, adv: ’less (always coupled with more)*. O.N. minne . 

TO ( Qp* Git ., p. 125) point out that the purely alliterative 
use of some Scandinavian loan words goes back to O.N. 
alliterative use, O.N. meiri ok minni Is found in M.E. only 
in the alliterative phrase more and mynne . See York , 41/28; 
Flor ., 549; perc ., 1608 and Lang* P.P ., G iv, 399. 

MYUGED, v; ’noted* - Gollancz. from 0.1. myngian . ’draw 
attention to (by giving tongue)’ - TG, from O.E. myndglan . 
Stratman has mynegian: remind, remember. See Lay/ , 24027; 

¥. of P ., 851; A.R., 320; Lang., P.P ., B vi, 97. 

MOLDS, sb: ’earth*. O.E. molde . Oakden ( Op. Git ., ii, 293) 
cites some 50 examples of its alliterative use in M.E. It 
was widely used as a tag ’ on molde *. 

NINKED, v: ’refuse definitely*. O.E. niccan from nlc , not I. 
Common in alliterative phrase, see A.R ., 5d)8; Wright ,, 32; 

W. of P ., 4145; Perc., 503; Alex. C ., 1460. 

c * , * 

t * 

< < *. . + < 
i ? 


t * 


OREEDLY, advj »boldly'. O.E. orpedlloe . Uaed frequently. 
See (lower, C.A., X, 129; Ayenbite.. 183; rrev. Hig., v, 231; 
K. Alia . . 1413. - - a 

KENK, sb? ’man’. O.E. ring , Oakden (Ibid., p. 176) states 
that the word occurs frequently in M.E. alliterative texts. 

See Win, and Wast ., S3; Pari., 137; Lang. P.P.. B Prol. 19S: 
Rel. Ant ., 78; W . of P ., 1153. 

KYGH/ruCH, v? ’direct, address etc.’. O.E. *ryooan? op. 
O.N. rykkja ? to pull - Gollanoz. TG give ruche from O.E. 

* ryecan and remark that the derivation of riche is probably 
the same but with senses also due to O.E. recoan . Oakden 
(Ibid., p. 180) includes the words in a group occurring only 
in alliterative poetry. See Alex. Q ». 5056; D. Troy 1331. 

RURDE, sb? ’voice*. O.E. reord . Well attested in M.E. See 
D._Troy., 12697; S.S., 910; Orm., 166; Ayenbite., 211; 0. 

and N. > 311. 

SALE, sb? ’hall’. O.E. sael. see Oct. 59; Amis and A.. 

444; King Horn , 1187. 

SCHALK, sb? ’man’ O.E. sc(e) ale? servant. One of the 
common synonyms for man in alliterative poetry. See Alex. B., 
20; J. of Arim ., 510; Lay ., 19216; Win, and Wast .,'~51T. 

SGHYRE, sb? ’bright’. O.E. soir , O.N. skaerr . see Gen, and 
Ex., 3848; Havel., 588; Goer de L. * 2646; Mann. H.S.. 

11*439; nor,, 98. _ 00 . . 

SEGGE, sb: 'man 1 . O.E. seeg . See Perl., 471; Alex_A., 286 etc. 

SKETE, advs ’quickly’. O.E. soeot , O.N. skiotr . Very 
common in metrical texts, 1300 - 1400, - O.E.D. See K. Alls., 
4139; Trist., 559; Havel., 1926; Lib. Des., 484. 

SWENGE3, v? ’starts’. O.E* swengan . See Bev., 248; A.R . 
290; 0. and N ., St. Marh ., 10. 

SWYNGE3, v? ’rushes’. O.E, swyngan . Both swengan and 
swyngan are from the root ^ swangVj -T See G.M . 636%; Havel ., 
214; St. Marh ., 9; Bev ., 497. Prornp. Parv ., 471, has 
swengyn "(or waveryn ); swyngyn (or Waberyn )'.' 

TOLIC, sb? ’man’. O.N. tulkr ? spokesman. Oakden ( Ibid ., p. 
178) remarks that as a synonym the word seems peculiar to 
alliterative verse. See pari ., 313; D. Troy ., 63; Purity , 

TOR, ad j? ’difficult’, O.N. tor . TG suggest that the 
entire alliterative formula ’ tor for to telle ’ may be of 
Scandinavian origin. Morris compares O.E. torfer , hardship. 
See A.R., 108; Orm., 6350; W. of P ., 1428; D. Troy , 8717. 

VedE, sb? ’country, people’. O.E. freed . See Gen, and Ex ., 
2302; A.R ., 250; Goer de L ., 6518; Pero ., 1255; Havel ., 
105. The word is very widely used both in religious treatises 



I • « 


and romances. 

WAIXANDE, pres, p: *welling up*. O.E. weallan, oorres. to 
0. Fris. walla . See A.R .. 118; Shor ., 90; kT Alls .. 1622; 
Rel. Ant., i, 101. Chaucer uses ’well* from O.E. wiellan - 
Her teres, so they gonnen up to welle - T. and C., Tv, 709, 
but wallen is common, particularly in the homilies. 

WY3B, sb 5 f man f . O.E. wiga. Well used in M#E., as well as 
wiht (O.E. wiht ; creature) which GGK and Chaucer also have. 
For wy5e , see W|P., 565; Alex. C .» 134; Lang. P.P ., 

B xii, 291; Sir Degr ., 56^7 

WLONK, adj: ’proud*. O.E. wlonc . Oakden (Ibid., p. 177) 
terms the word *a conventional epithet in alliterative verse*. 
See 0* and N., 489; W. of P. # 80; Met. Horn., 42; Rel. Ant., 

WODWOS, sb: * satyr* O.E. wuduwasa . Oakden ( Ibid .» p. 168) 
states that the word was very common in the 14th. century. 

See Alex. Q . t 1540; Wycl . Isa , xxxiv, 14; Promp. Parv ., 533. 

Of the seventy-one words listed above, sixty-seven 

are sufficiently well attested in Middle English to indicate 

that Chaucer would have known them. Most of them appear in 

the romances, and a remarkable number, even more than the 

examples Indicate, are used in the homilies and religious 

works such as the Anoren Riwle , the Northern Verse psalter 

and the English poems of Walter Map . Some of the homilies 

are thirteenth as well as fourteenth century but Owst has 


shown that they were very widely circulated and it seems 
reasonable to infer that Chaucer would have been familiar 

164. eg. The glossary of St. Markerete . ed. F.M* Mack, 
E.E.T.S*, 193, 1954, contains a number of words used 
by the Gawain poet, whicn are not cited in the O.B*D. 
or stratman’s. 

165. See p. 14 , footnote 35 • 

(. < 


( ■ t 


with their vooabulary. 

As far as dialect is concerned, none of the sixty- 

seven words are found in northern texts only. Many of them, 

tit , burne , buske , drySten , erde , feye , ferkke , folde , f reke , 

fryth , gart etc. occur in Langland f s work3. Mandeville uses 


auncian, baret , gart, glyfte eto. and several occur in the 
works of G-ower. 

Of the group, the four words not well attested are 
balg5 , glam , glaum and ryeh/rueh . 

Bal5 occurs in GGK, 2052 and 2172? Bi he hade belted 
pe bronde vpon his ba!5e haunche5 . A ba!5 ber5 bi a bonke pe 
brymme bysyde . 

Ghaucer would have known the other words in these 
contexts but it is not possible to say how he would have 
translated balS . 

Glam and glaum are alternatives in alliterative phrase 
to gomen and gle and they are used with gle in GGK. Since 
Ghaucer himself uses gomen and gle in Sir Thopas , 2050, he 
would probably have understood these words. 

Hych/ruch is variously translated by Gollancz; 
direct, GGK ., 1223; addresses (himself), GGK ., 8, 308; 
dresses , GGK., 1809, 1875; fastened , GGK., 2177; held, GGK., 
303; prepared , GGK ., 567; taking his way , GGK ., 1898. TG 
translate rich(e) ; direct , decide, intend, prepare , GGK., 

360, 599, 1223, 2206; prepare (oneself), dress , GGK ., 1130, 

166. J.W. Bennet, M.L.H . , lxviii, 1953, p. 532, provides 
evidence to suggest Ghaucer read Mandeville. 


t i. . 



t ' t 



c * < 

c * « 

< t » t 

t '■ c * . * 


t. . . i. c 


t - « e 

t » 



1309, 1673; make one y a way , proceed , GGK ., 8, 1898. TG 
translate ruon(oh)e ; to turn (oneself), GGK ., 303; proceed , 
GGK >, 367. From the variety of translations, it appears that 
this word is largely an action verb, dependent on context for 
interpretation, and sinoe the other words in the contexts 
would have been familiar to Chaucer, it seems reasonable to 
assume that he would have understood ryoh/ruch . 

A study of the group of poetic words revealed that 
many words in GGK of O.S. derivation occurred in the homilies 
as well as in the romances. Even more common in the homilies 
are words in GGK of O.E. derivation not specifically poetic 
in character. More than half the words to be listed in the 
next group occur in the homilies and charre , for example, 
occurs in Ancren Kiwle , The Lambeth Homilies , St. Marherete , 

From the emphasis scholars have placed on the dialectal 

aspects of GGK , one might expect that many of the words of Old 

English derivation would be regional in character. This is not 

the case. Apart from those included in the group of 'disputed* 

words to be dealt with later, there are only seven words in the 


group that might be regarded as specifically northern. Of the 

rest, nine have come into contemporary speech and most in the 
group appear to have been widely used during the period. 

167. brent , swefrle , frrych , frry3ht , smolt , weve , wysty . 

168. ber (beer), 5ol (yule), hew (hue), hervest (harvest), 
yss-ikkles (TcTcles), ryue (rife), settel (seat), 
stalworth (stalwart), fryBeS (thighsJT 


c t *. . < 



C ♦ .... t 








The following are words of Old English derivation 
in GGK whioh do not appear in Chaucer: 

AR3E, adj. & v: * afraid, to be terrified*. Q.E. eargian. 
Well attested in M.E* See 0. and N., 407; K* Alis., 3340; 
Coer de L ., 3821; Havel., 2115“ for adj. Alex . Q ., 537; 
Perc. 69; Lang. P.P ., C iv, 237 for verb. 

AWHARF, v: # whirled around*. O.E. ahweorfan . Wo other 
examples of its use in the period. 

HER, sb: *beer*. O.E. beor . See 0. and N ., 1011; Lay ., 
13542; King Horn . 1108/and bier , beer ‘and ber in the 
correspondence of mayor and alderman with Henry V, 1415 - 
( Book of London English , p* 64). 

BERS,- sb: *mound*. O.E. beorg . See Lang, P.P ., B v, 589; 
Best ., 481; Lay ., 12311. E&wall’s Dictionary of Place 
Karnes gives Bergeby , 1236, and in local surnames, Richard 
atte Bergh is cited for 1332. Chaucer has burghes , C.T ., 

B r 870, 0*E* burg , derived from same Teut. root bergan : to 

BORNE, sb: * spring, fountain*. O.E. burna . See 0. and N. , 
916; Lang. P.P ., A Prol. 8; Lam.Horn. , 175. 

BRAYN, adj: *mad*. O.E. braegn . Shortened form of 
braynw od? - Gollancz. Chaucer has brayn meaning *brain* in 
C.T., B 769. Bra^n, meaning *mad*, does not appear, except 
in GGK , until the 16th. century - O.E.D. and Stratman. 

BRENT, adj: * steep*. O.E. brant , Q.N. brattr . See Purity , 
379; D. Troy ., 3030 and Alex. C ., 3649 only. 

BTJRDE, v: *be due, beseem*. O.E. byrian , O.N. burja . See 
Orm. , 89; Havel ., 2761; C.M. , 17dT; Met. Horn . , 2. 

CHAHRE, sb. & v: *business, return*. O.E. cler , oerran . 

See Bev., 3461; Town . , 106; A.R., 314; Lam. Horn. , 1, 137, 
- for sb. Gen, and Ex ., 1712; St. Marh ., 3; Map ., 348; 

0. and K ., 1658, for verb. 

CLENGE3, v: 1 clings*. O.E. clengen . Purity , 1034, and 
GGK are the only texts in which the word occurs during the 

DEUE, v: * stun, destroy*. 0.1. deafian . Occurs also in 
Awntyrs ., xxii and Cov ., 348. Chaucer has the adj. deve ; 
deaf , in C.T ., A 446 etc. 

DIT, pp: * fastened*. O.E. dyttan , probably from O.E* dott : 
a plug - O.E.D . See Orm ., 18590; A.R ., 106; Lang . P.P., 


A vii, 178; Rel. Ant ,, i, 90. 

Elfe, v; ’conjure’. May represent CUE* aeth an from ajb; 
oath, - OjiE^D* Stratman compares M.H.G. eiaen. Occurs also 
in Alex. ~CV ,~~l540 where the editor, Skeat, gives a similar 

BOSSED, v: ’clipped’. O.E. efesian. SeeA.R., 108: A.D.. 
258; Trev. Barth .. 66 b/6; PlV Cr ., 166. 

FAKKAND, pres, p: ’floating’. 0.1. fann . M.-u. fannen ; to 
winnow occurs in Ayenbite . 159; Trev. Barth .. 3316/b and 
Promp. Parv.j 178. Chaucer, C.T., A 3315, has fanne: fan 


FBMEB', v 5 ’foamed’. O.E. feTeman . Stratman gives this ward 
under M.E. famion , faemen; “To "foam and cites Trev. Iiig ., 377; 
Wycl. , Mark, lx, 17" etc.' See also Ipotys , 444; D. Troy ., 
7261; Alex. C., 1133. ’ Fomyn ’ in Promp. Parv., 183. 

Chaucer has fomy: foamy and foorn; foam. (Robinson, p. 1039). 

FETTLED, pps ’conjoined, arranged*. Possibly O.E. fetel , 

- the primary sense would then be ’to gird up’ - O.E.p . Akin 
to O.E. fetian ; fetch; faet * container, - M.E*D . Compare 
provincial English fettle ; Fo set in order, 0 . Fris . fitia : 
to adorn, Goth, fetjan , O.N. fitia : to labor at a thing in 
order to get it right - Morris. TG and Gollancz give the 
derivation from O.E. fetel : band, girdle. See Pari .. 20; 

M. Arth ., 2149; Alex. 0 ., 626; Town ., 309. 

F0RFEEDE, v; ’destroyed’. O.E. forferan ; to perish. E.M. 
Wright, J.E.G.F ., 1915, xxxiv, 176, translates ’intercepted’ 
from 0.K." I'oFTaran : to get in front of. But Gollancz 
points out that forfare ; destroy appears in both Patience 
and Purity . Chaucer has forfare ; perish, from O.E. forfaran , 
in R.R. , 5778. 

MJLSIJN, v; ’help’ M.E. fils(t)nen from fllst , sb: help, - 
O.E.D.' From O.E. fylstan - TG and Gollancz. See 0. an d N o, 
889; T.G. Horn ., 2^9^ Best ., 30; D. Troy ., 5613. 

GOG, sb; ’Corrupt form of God’. GGK and Town ., 390, are 
the only texts cited* ’By God’ appears in C.M . 7934; Bev ., 

A 1098; Lib. Des .» 219. 

GRYMDELSTOH, ab: ’grindstone’. O.E. * grindeistan from 
grindan : to grind and stan: stone. Grinds ton appears in 
A.R., g33 and Wycl .. Num. xi, 8. Chaucer nas grind in C.T . , 

A 4032 etc. 

3AHKEE3, v; ’bestows’, GGK., 2410; ’opened’, GGK ., 620. 

O.E. gearcian; to prepare. Well attested in M.E. See 
A.R . 410f ~ Lang, P.P ., B vii, 80; D. Troy ., 414; Gen, and 
Ex., 3261. Savage ( ll.L.N ., 1944, lix, p. 349) says; 

I 1 

t < 


3 a rice cl , 830, conveys the idea of a sudden snatch, quick jerky 
motion ( Diet. of N. Hiding , 1928), a meaning more appropriate 
to the raising of a portcullis than the colorless ’opened’. 

3EP-LY, ado* & adv. (clever-ly) O.E. geap . Well attested 
in M.B* and popular for alliterative purposes* see A.R., 66; 
T*Q* Horn * * 193; Bev., A 88; Lang* P.P ., A xi, 77. Yap * a 
dial. var., still survives in the North. 

301, sb; ’yule*. O.E. geol . See Orm*, 11063; Lay * * 22737; 
Bev *, M 461, A 601. ~- 

HELDE, v? ’sink’. O.E. hieldan . Chaucer has the same form 
in C.T * A 2517 but this may be from O.E* healdian . See Wycl *, 
Lev. - Tv, 17; Ayenbite , 177; Lang, P.P . * Ax.' 6 b; M. Arth . * 
261; A.R. * 428; Promp. Parv .T uieldin ; inolino )* 232. 

HSRUEST, sb; ’harvest*. O.E. haerfest . See Cower, G.A * 

1390; Ayenbite , 86; Lang. P.P *, B vi, 292. 

HEW, sb; ’head-covering*. 0.1. hufe ; coif, - Collancz. 

Hue from O.E. heow ; hue, is the usual translation for CCK ., 
1738. Hew meaning T hue* occurs in Chaucer, R.R., 1213, and 
in alliterative phrase ’ hide and hewe ’ in Sir Fir ., 4665; 

See also M. Arth . * 3735; Lang, R*R ., 676; Goer de L ., 549o. 

HYPPED, v; ’hopped* O.E. %yppan, cp. noppian. See 0* and 
N. , 1636; Pricice of 0., 1539; Lang* P.P ., B xv, 557; 

Promp, ParvT 7^2^57""^Remains in northern dial, and in 
’hippity-hoppety’. Ghaucer has hoppe, r f * and G ., ii, 1107 

HOLDE-LY, adv. ’faithfully’, O.E. hold . Y/idely used. See 
Cen. and Ex*, 1389; Orm., 10174; Sir. Fir., 2592; G.M., 

XSS&T. - — ~ “ ~ 

HONDESALLE, sb; ’New Year gratuity or gift’. 0.1. hands el en 
- G.B.D., Collancz and TC. O.N. handsal - Stratrnan. Well 
attested in M.E. See Cower, G.A. . ii» ^75; Lang, P.P ., 

A iv, 9; Bev .» A 3109; Lang. R.R ., 30. 

YSS-IKKLES, sb; ’icicles’. O.E. is. & gioel . For the second 
element, O.E.D. gives O.E. * 3iecel , cog, with O.N. jokull, 
icicle, glacier. See Promp. Parv., 259. The compound occurs 
only in CCK and Lang* P.P ., B xvii and G xx, 193, between 
1000 and 1483, according^to the O.E.D . Ghaucer has yse ; ice, 
in H. of F ., iii, 1130. 

LAY/E, sb; ’mound, barrow’. O.E. hi aw . Well attested in 
M.E. See O.M ., 4081; Orm., 9205; Havel ., 1699; Lib. Des ., 

( < 






LEI, sb; ’ shelter* • O.E. hleo . See M. Arth., 1446: 

O.M ,, 23526; A«R ,, 368; D, Troy ,, 2806. 

LINDE, v 5 *dwell*. 0#E. lendan. See Sir Degr., 1560; 

W> of P «, 1466; M. Arth . a 565; G.M . , 2~966.' 

LING, v; ’dwell*. Q.l. lengan . Used in M.l. also in the 
sense of prolong. See C.M.V 1890; Lang. P.P . , A i, 185; 

■W. Of P ., 5421; M> Arth .. 3276; Sir Degr .. 1340. 

AyenbTte ., 173. Widely used. Stratman does not 
differentiate between the two meanings. 

LODE, sb; * conduct* - Gollancz, * on his way* - TG. Not 
given in the first sense in O.E.D., under LOAD, 0.2. lad . 
Stratman lists lad from 0.1. (ge)lad ; act of leading, 
occurring in Ghaucer, G.T ., A 403, lodemenage ; pilotage, and 
lad from 0.1. lad : palh, journey, load, occurring in the 
sense of ’load* in Ghaucer, CUT., A 2918, ’journey* in 
Trist ., 419, etc. 

LOME, sb % ’weapon*. 0.1. geloma . Widely used in M.l* as 
utensil, instrument. See A.R. 384; Perc., 2032; Lang, P.P., 
C vl 45; Wright ., xxii, 41. 

-MMGED, pp; ’mingled*. 0.1* mengan . Well attested in M.l. 
See A.R., 332; Lay., 15530; oT ancT N. , 823; Gen. and Ex., 
3581': — r ~— 

HER!, sb: ’boundary*. 0.1. gemaere . See Lay ., 2133; Trev . 
Hig ., v, 265 - ’ the meres and the merles ’. Promp. Parv., 286. 

MEEK, sb: ’boundary*. O.E. me arc . See Lang. P.P . B xv, 438; 
Trist., 2234; Hand., 292; Ayenbite , 223. 

M1THUB, adj: ’without moderation*. 0.1. maethleas . Occurs 
only in A.R., 96 but for maeaes moderation, see T.G. Horn ., 

29; Gen, and lx . , 2498; Cm,, 7515; Lay ., 977. 

HANDS f sb; ’edge*. O.E. rand. See Pearl, 105; PI. Cr., 

763. ~~ — 

RLKSNLY, adv; ’noble’ 0.1. recenlioe . See Gen, and lx . , 
3485; M. Arth., 4081; Wright., 27. for adj. reken which 
Stratman translates as ’prompt, apt*. 

RIMED, v: ’cleared his throat*, cp. O.N. rymja : to cry out 
with a^hoarse voice - Gollancz. ’‘Hemmed (contemptuously)’, 
Dan. romme ; to hem, - Morris. ’Stretched himself’, O.E. 
rg&an, - TG . , and 0.1.D. The 0.1.D . gives the same sense for 
’rimed’ as for ream from M.l. raemen (of obscure origin), 
meaning ’to stretch’, which occurs in Lay ., 3554; A.R ., 72; 
Cot. Horn ., 231. Stratman also has reined; yawned, in Lang . 

t * . 6 < 


P.P., G viii, 7. E.D.D . records rime ; to taunt, in Staff, 
dial, and rime : to murmur, Nhb. but these meanings are not 
recorded in O.E.D. under RIME or REAM. Ooours also in Alex . 

G., 4931: rymed him full renysohly . 

KYUE, adj: *much*. Late O.E. ryfe . Well attested in M.E. 

See Shor., 112; Gower, G.A .. i, "213; Bev., M 1574; Lang . 

R.R ., n, 5* 

RYNES, v: * touches*. O.E. hrinan . Well attested in M.E. 

A.R . , 403; Orm., 15513; G.M»~24591; Alex. 0. , 3317. 

R0KK2D, pp. •cleansed by rolling f • O.E. rocoian . Chaucer 
has rokken : to rock, G.T., A 4157. E.M. Wright ( E.3 . > 1905, 
xxxvi, p. 218) points out that f rock» meaning »to clean (a 
kettle) 1 survives in Dorset, and Somerset, O.E.D . gives the 
same translation with GGK as the only example. *The form ruo- 
keden in Lay ., 22287, makes it doubtful whether this is the 
true explanation* - O.E.D. 

SAYKD, v: *5163361*. O.E. segnian . Well attested in M.E. 
See PerCo, 287; G.M ., 7986; Lang. P.P .. B v, 456; Flor .. 
297;" St. Marh .. 23.' 

SAMEE, v: *assemble*. O.E. samnian . ?/idely attested in 
M.E. both as a verb and as an adverb, samen : together, 

(also in GGK)• For verb, see Gen, and Ex ., 434; Orm., 1552; 
G.M. , 27762; Alex ., C. 1520. For adverb, see Havel' ., 467; 

Sir Degr . , 1396; G.M. , 3773 etc. 

SCEYNDER, v: *to cleave, burst asunder*. O.E. syndrian , 
influenced by words of similar sense beginning with sch T - 
O.E.D . Only in J. of Arim ., 513; Awntyrs ., 501. 

SETTEL, sb: ♦seat*. O.E. setl. See 0. and N,, 594; O.M.* 

14734; Prioke of G ., 6122; Lay., 16646. 

SEYE, vj *go*. O.E. saegan . Stratman, giving this deriva¬ 
tion, adds: from O.E. si3en . The latter word is in Ghaucer 
as sie , T. and C . , v, 182. There are only two examples of 
seye : Gen, and Ex ., 2232 and Alex., G . 4333. 

SLADE, sb: * hollow, slope*. O.E. slaed . Occurs rarely. 

See Lay ., 8585; Gower, G.A ., ii, 93; Pall. on Hus ., ix, 176. 

SME^ELY, adv: *smoothly*. O.E. smepe-1y . Related to smod : 
smooth, which is rare in O.E. but from 1400 almost entirely 
supplanted smeeth, - O.E.D . GGK and Ghaucer (G.T. Prol, 676) 
both have smothe: smooth, but sme3 also occurs in Wyol. Gen ., 
xxvii, 2; T.G. Horn ., 219; A.R.. 2; Trev. Hig. . vii, 259. 

SMOLT, adjs f mild*. O.E. smolt. Exists in present day. 
dial, of Scot., East Ang., Sussex and Hampshire - E.D.D . See 
Purity, 732 only. 

SPARLYR, sb: *the calf of the leg*. O.E. spaerlira . See 







Bov. , 2311; Trev, Hig. , 
Vocab ., 14b. 

v, 356; Wycl., Deut . xxviii, 35; 

SPERRE, vj ’strike*. Both TG and Gollanoz derive from O.E. 
sperran . O.E.D . states it is of obscure origin. It occurs 
twice elsewhere, - Alex.. G o 2975 and D. Troy ., 6690. 

SPURED, v z •ask*. O.E. spyrian . Well attested in M.E. 

See Gower. G.^ .. i, 9b; Lang. P.P .. xvii, i; Flor . 293; 

Triam, 592; Promp. Parv ., (sperin) 462. IMSPUHED, adj. 
’unasked* also occurs in GGK. 

STALWORTH, ad j: ♦stalwart*. O.E. staelwyrfre . Widely 
attested in M.E. See A.R.* 1225; Lam. Horn., 25; Trev. Barth, 
xxxvi, 522; Iiavel .. 25; W. of P .. 1950. 

STI3TEL, vj *rule*. M.E. stiStle . frequentative from sti3te . 
O.E. * stihtan . See Lang.. P.P .. G, xvi; Alex.. 0 . 3467; wT 
of P ., ll99; Purity ," 96. — 

SWeIlE, vg *to fold (swaddle)*. O.E. swefrel . See G.M .» 

11236; Town ., xii, 433. Superseded by the southern form, 
swaddle . 

TORTORS, sbg ’turtle doves*. O.E. turtur . O.E.D . gives 
turtel which Qhaucer has in G.T . . A 3706,“ as the dimin. or 
dissimulated form. Turtria occurs in Wycl ., Luke ii, 24, and 
turfure in Trev. BarTTh TT^xTi» xxxv only. 

TOTES, v 5 ’looks*, O.E. totian g peep. See A.R ., 52; 

Havel ., 2106; Lang. P.P .. B xvi, 22; Gower. G.A .. v, 470. 

A variant of the word exists in tout, and is in the E.D.D . 

A duel was fought at Tothill (a look-out hill) in 1391 by 
Brerelay against Cleric^ the man he accused of robbing Ghaucer 
at Westminster, ( Life Records of Ghaucer iv ., ed. Kirk, p. 

298, Life ReQords“ J Q^GhauceFT 7 and" SeTlYy^s Robberies of 
Chaucer, "p.” 25-2b|. Ghaucer. L.G.W., 353, has“Tatulour/ 
toTeleFe/ toteler/ tutelereg tattler, apparently' from the 
variant" stems of tut and ~t£Tt . 

X PY3E3, sb % ’thighs*. O.E. peoh . See 0. and ii ., 1496; Trev . 
Hig .. iv, 185; Mann. Qhron ., "4921; T.G. Horn ., 211. 

VrIGH, sbg ’narrow gorge or passage through underv^ood*. Gp. 
O.E. pryccan s to squeeze, ~ O.E.D . See D. Troy , 12752; 

Wyn., Chron., v, iv, 606 only. Stratman has prucche , O.E. 

(of) pryooe , meaning ’push, rush*. 

’PRYST, vj »thrust f . O.E. pryccan . See D. Troy ., 13461; 

Lay., 19483. Apparently it is a northern word, existing 
sTIll in dialect, although the O.E.D. does example 
in Alfred , Boe ., iv. Stratman gives the same derivation, 
translates ’push, rush* with one example in Lay ., 19483 and 
Purity , 135. 

< t * 

t * ■* 

VwONG, sb; ‘thong*. O.E. Wvang . Well attested, particularly 
in religious works. See Met. Horn.. 10; Wyol., John 1. 27; 

Tw., 3160; W. of P . 1720: " ~ 

XJMBE, prep; ‘around*. Partly o.E. ynbe and partly o.N. umb - 
0»E.D . Tile preposition and a variety of words, where umbcT~i"s 
used as a prefix, occur in M.E. See A.R ., 218; Qrm . , I7565; 
Rel. Ant ., i, 131; Lang. P.P ., B v, 'ZFo. 

UNRYDELY, adv: ’ruggedly’. O.E. ungerydelioe, - O.E.D. See 
Qrm ., 15567; C.M . , 24391. Stratman translates f oruelly 1 . 

The adj. meaning ’enormous, cruel etc.’ is well attested. 

See Trist ., 2712; Sir Fir .. 747; Ipom ., 6492; Havel., 964. 

WALT, v t ’threw’ O.E. gewaeltan . Also occurs in OU^WALT. 
The old Teut. root wait seems to be an extension of wal : to 
roll, - O.E.D . See D. Troy ., 909 and Purity 1037 onlyT 

WALTERED, vs ’flowed’, cp. O.E, gewaeltan . See Wycl., 
Judges, v, 27; D. ‘Troy .. 3810; Trev. Big .. vii, 203f Lang . , 
R.R. i ii, 187; Pro mp. Parv., waitring # 514 , weltryn, 542, - 
the latter remaining In' L'incs. dialect. 

■WArJe, sbs ’shore’. O.E, wared . See St. Mat., xiii, 2; 
Patience , 339, only. 

WYSTY, ’desolate’. O.E. weatig . See Lay ., 1120. E.M. Wright 
( E.S. , 1906, xxxvi, p. 226) states: Tt The correct meaning of 
the word becomes clear when we observe its use in dialects. 

Gf. E.B.D . wisty , adj. Lane. Ches....l. ’Spacious, empty, 


WEUE, v$ ’bestov? on’ Perhaps a dialectal variant of WAIVE, 
v. 2, O.N. veifa . Occurs only in GGK . 

WRHSLED, pps ’clad’. O.E. wrixlian - Stratman. Etymology 
obscure; relation to wrixle is no't clear - O.E.D . See D. 
Troy ., 3120, 445, 9327; Purity , 1381 only. 

W03E, sb: ’wall’. O.E. wag . Ghaucer has wall , O.E. we all , 
in Q.T ., E 1047 etc. Wo3e , spelt variously', appears in C. 
and N ., 1528; Lang., P,p . , B iii, 61; Maud ., 247; 7ycl ., 
Ps. Ixi, 4. 

Of this group, ar5e , berg , ber , borne , brent , burde , 
charre , dit , euesed , famed, fetled , fulsun , 5ep-ly , 5ariace3 , 
3ol , helde , heruest , hew (hue), hypped , holdely , hondesalle , 
yas-iidcles , lawe , lee , lende , leng , lome , menged , mere , merK, 

meth-les , rekenly , ryue , rynes , sayned , samnen , settel , smebely . 








sparlyr , spured . s-Qalworth , styStel , totes , |py5eg , pwong , 
um be , unrydely , wait ere cl and wo5e are suffioiently well 
attested in Middle English for one to assume that Chauoer 
would have understood them* Association and context would 
have helped Chaucer to understand deue, fannand , gryndelstone, 
lode , rande , seye , slade , swepel , wait , ouerwalt and tortora * 
Of the others, the meaning of olengeS , elpe , forferde , 
Gog , schynder , smolt , sperre , warp , weve , wysty and wruxled 
may he inferred from the. context;* aimed , Chaucer would 
probably have known since the basic meaning of the root is 
f to stretch* - cp* rum an . The 0*E.D* is doubtful about the 
translation of rokked , but f cleaned f seems an appropriate 
translation in GGK B019 - y rokked of be roust of his riohe 
bruny t and the survival in dialect suggests that 1 cleaned y is 
correct. The meaning of brayn is doubtful in context and the 
translation of awharf, brieh and prySht is not necessarily 
clear from context. 

Of this group of seventy-seven words, therefore, 

seventy-three are likely to have been understood by Chaucer. 

Oakdan remarks that 10.55 per cent of the words in 


GGK are of Scandinavian origin. He suggests that some fact, 
probably beyond our ascertaining, must account for the 
extensive use of Scandinavian words by the Gawain poet. 

169. J.P. Cakden, Op. Cit., i, p. 86. 

170. Ibid., ii, p. 190. 



c. t 4 . . 4 

4 .. 4 

4 .... 4 ' 

4 .... 4 










f I 






It is interesting to note, however, that the number 
of words of Scandinavian origin in GGK that are not used by 
Chaucer is not as large as might be expected. In the groups 
of words discussed so far, there have been twenty-seven words 
of Scandinavian origin, while in the group of f disputed 1 
words to be considered later sonolars have attributed a 
possible Scandinavian origin to twenty-three words. In the 
group of * disputed words f , however, some of the words of un¬ 
known origin may have come from Scandinavian sources. The 
group of words of Scandinavian origin to be considered now, 
contains sixty-six words not used by Chaucer and these include 
several that have not been found elsewhere in Middle English 

Many of the words, such as clamberande, dingeS, 
draueled, glopnyng, gryndel, lowande, skayned, snitered etc. 
have been clearly called into play for alliterative purposes 
or to heighten the artistic effect. Some have survived in 
dialect but only one, dryftes, is in modern standard English. 

The following words of Scandinavian origin in GGK 
are not found in Chaucer*s works? 

ATTLE, v? *purpose*. Q.N. aetla - O.S»D « 0#N# ahtil, akin 
to O.E. eahtian, - M.EoD o See T.C. Horn ., 79; Lay .. 25996; 

Do Troy . , 6599; M» Arth ., 554 . 

BAIN, adj. *obedient*. 0*N* beinn. See C.M» , 28806; Egl . , 
974; Trlst ., 708; Patience , 136. 

BAitBH, v? * grant*. o.N. beifna. See Wright. 2?., St. Erk., 
257; So of ler ., 179* 





. 1 « 



BLANDS, pp: •blended* O.E. blandan , O.N. blanda - O.E.D . 
Blend, also in GGK and Chauoer , Truth , 4, is akin to bland 
with the change of vowel due to O.N. pres # sing, blendV JTendr . 
Blande occurs only in Alex, C .. 2786; Purity , 855 and Liber 
C*C*, 24. See also in GGK, IN BLANDE s together, not recorded 

BLENK, vs * shine*. O.n. blekkja . Partly the northern 
equivalent of blench and partly the earlier equivalent of 
modern blink - O.E.D. See Mann. H.S ., 428; Bruce., vii, 217 
and Awntyrs .» xliii, only. Chauoer has bleynteY G.T . , A 1078. 

BOLE, sbs *tree trunk*. O.N. bolr . See Purity , 622, Guy ., 
260, only. 

BOLNE, v? * swell*. O.N. bolgna . Well attested. See 0. and 

N. , 145; Wyol .. Got, i, 2; D. Troy ., 5052; Lang, P.P ., 

B v, 119. 

BROSE, BROFELY, adj. & advs *angry, angrily*. O.N. bradr . 

See Orm., 7164; C.M .. 4003; D. Troy ., 5075; Pero ., '2125. 

The word has survived in *broth of a boy*. 

BUR, sb$ *blow*. O.N. byrr ; a following wind. Morris 
refers to 0. Scots, fayr g a blow. See Wyol ., Jud. xiv, 2; 

Flor ., 659; D. Troy ., 170; Met. Horn. / x, vii. 

GLAMBERANBE, pres, ps * clustering*. O.N. klambra s to pinch 
closely together. Only GGIC is cited for the period in the 

O. E.D. 

DINGE3, vs * strikes*. O.N. dengja . Used frequently. See 
C.M. . 19356; Havel .. 2329; Goer de L ., 5270; Lang, P.P ., 

0 xvii. 

BRAUELED, vs *muttered in sleep*. O.N. drafl s tattle. 

Also O.N. drafas to talk thick, cog. with O.E. dreflian s 
dribble, talk childishly, - O.E.D. See Lang. P.P ., An, 2 
and B x, 41, only. 

DRYPTIS, sbs * drifts*. Early M.B., drift . Not recorded^in 
O.E. but corresponding to 0. Fris. drif . O.N. drift - O.E.D . 
See Alex. G ., 1756, only. 

FARAED, adjs *goodly*. O.N. fara ; to befit; O.E. faran . 
O.E.D. suggest the probable application of farand , northern 
pres. p. of fare , with the sense *to suit, befit*, see 
Pearl , 435, and with prefix, ill-farand , in Fere. 

FEEE, adjs *undaunted*. O.N. faerr . Op. O.E. unfere s 
feeble, O.N. for-r s capable, - M.E.B . Well attested in M.E. 

( 9 




See Gen, and Ex. , 5593; Flor ., 2004; Sir Fir ., 520; Lam , 
Horn .,25; A»R, t 55b. 

F0R3, sb: •waterfall*. O.N. fors . O.E.D . oites first use 
of wcrd in 1500. E.D.D . states tnat the word is found in 
Nhb., Dur., Cum., Wm., Yxs., and Lanos. Savage ( M.L.N . , 

1944, lix, p. 349) translates as f cbannel*. 

GL0PNYNG, sb: f dismay*. O.N. glupna: to be downcast. 
Gollanoz gives it as a verbal noun *terrifying*. See A.R ., 
212; Purity, 649; C.M., 11611; M. Arth.. 1074; Alex, 

C., 674. 

GRYNDEL-LY, GHYRDEL-LAYK, adj., adv., & sb: *fierce-ly, 
fierceness*. Compare O.N. grund : fieroeness - O.E.D. 

O.N. grindill : storm, - TG. O.N. grindill : howling storm; 
grenja : to howl, - Gollanoz. O.N. grina : to wry the 
mouth; grinall: sour-looking, - Morris. The word has not 
remained in dialect although it may be in the place name 
Grind!esham . It does not appear to be connected with 
gryndelston , also in GGK . 

5ETTE, v: *grant*. Late O.E. g eat an after O.N. .jata - 
O.E.D . See A.R .» 170, 26; G.M. . 9619; Lay. , 10994; 

Promp . Parv ., 550. 

HA3ER, adj: * goodly*. O.N. haegr s skilful. See prm ., 
15471; A.R .. 52. 


HARDEKES, v: *emboldens*. See O.N. hardna , O.E. heardian . 
Harden has taken the place of O.E. heardian - O.E.D. 

Ghaucer, G.T ., F 245, has yharded : made hard,~~from heardian. 
For harden, see Qrm ., 1574; K. Alis ., 1200; Bruce . , xH,~~ 
50; P. Troy ., 9966. 

HELPER, adv: *more*. O.N. heldr . Morris mentions that the 
word is still used in Lancs, and the North. See Alex. 0 ., 
4657, only. 

H1RLE, sb: * strand*. Gog. with M.L.G. herle , harle : 
fibre, filament. See T» of Fyssh . 35, only. 

KER, KERRE, sb: *marsh overgrown with bushes*. O.N. k.jaer . 
Ioel. kjarr ; brushwood. See Mann. Ghron ., 14574; Bruce., 
xii, only. 

LAYNE, v: *keep silent concerning*.^ O.N. leyna - O.E.D. 
and Gollanoz. Stratman gives O.E. legnian, lygnian with a 
query. Well attested in M.S. See W. of P ., 906; G»M .» 

0.549; Pero ., 1940; M. Arth ., 969; Yw., 703. 

LYTS, sb: *delay*. O.N. hlita : to trust. See O.M ., 

2631; Alex. C.. 601; Orm., 6115; P romp. Parv . (lytyn) 


< * 

? . 

( * < 

* l 

t < 

< .. *. < 

* B . ( 




LOTE, sb: f noise, bearing*. O.N. lat * loss, letting - as 
in in » 'sounds or manners', - O.E.D . For 

lote 'appearance* see Orm., ISIS; A.l» , 90; 0, and N , t 3b; 

Trist., 2097. For lote 'sounds* see G.M., 124951 Met. Horn., 
lab]" Alex.. 0., 8384. 

LOWANDE, pres, p.: 'shining'. O.N. loga . See Sir Degr .. 
1436; A.R ., 356; Alex. 0. . 226; Gen, and Ex .. 64&. 

NAYTED, pp: 'commemorated*. O.N. neyta . See D. Troy .. 

776; Alex. 0 ., 2968; Pero . , 185; Purity , 531. 

NEKE.D, sb: 'little*. O.N. nekkvat ; something. Pons (Qp. 
Git ., p. 27) remarks that this word is one of the expressions 
' assez rares en moyen anglais *. See Alex. 0 .. 3935, only. 

NTHP, sb: 'mark*. Op. Norw* dial, nerta : to touch lightly. 
E.M. Wright ( E.S. , 1906, xxxvi, p. 216) considers it the same 
word as Scot. mrt . Of. E.D.D . Nirt : a very small piece. 
She adds: "If so, then nirt In our text would mean rather, 
'the small mark, the little scar* referring to the fact that 
the wound inflicted was but a slight one". Not found else¬ 

RAD, adj: 'afraid'. O.N. hraeddr . Well attested in M.E. 

See Orm., 2170; Yw., 481; Alex. G ., 1640; Met. Horn ., 73. 

RACE, sbs RASES, vs 'attack, rush*. O.N. raa : act of 
running. ^O.N. rasa : to rush. Stratman gives the derivation 
as O.E. raesan , beside O.N. rasa . Both noun and verb are in 
Gower, G.A., ii, 264, 1, 335. See also 0. a nd N ., 512; 

Ipom., 1831; Lang, R.R .> 3633. E.M. Wright ( l¥id ., p. 217) 
remarks: "The N.S.D . has Race sb. (1)...'A out, slit, mark, 
scratch* but with no quotation earlier than 1500. it is 
worth noticing that in N. Yks. and E. Ang., the verb rase 
is still pronounced as if it were 'race*. Gf. E.D.D. Rase 
v. and sb. So., n. Gy., Yks., Bedf., E. Ang...l. v. 'to 
abrade or out the flesh slightly* ". 

RAGED, sb: 'shaggy'. O.N. raggaclr . O.E. raggig . Gollancz, 
following E.M. Wright, translates *hoarfrost*. Luttrell 
(Op. Git., p. 210)points out, however, that ra£ is the name 
given to many tufted lichens and plants, ragjack , ragrose, 
etc., and can mean shaggy. For the same sense see Shor ., 

110; Gower, G.A ., i, 100; Lang. B ., xi, 33. Chaucer has 
ragges : rags, R.R ., 472. 

RAE, sbj 'storm cloud*. O.N. rek(i) . See D. Troy ., 1984; 
Purity , 443, only. 

RAKE, sb: 'path*. O.N. raak - O.B.D . and Gollancz. O.E. 
racu: water course, path, - TG. Morris compares with Scots. 
sheep-raike . See A1ex. G., 3383; 5070; M. Arth. , 2985; 




? * 

* t * 

C ■ • 





% * 







RAYKK, v : ‘went* * O.N. reika . See A>R , , 140; iuap• , 342; 
Flor ., 164b; M> Arth ., 33^7 Promp. Parv ., 369. 

RONES, sb: 'thickets 1 . O.N. runnr. E.M. Wright (E.S., 
1906, xxxvi, p. 209) compares dTale'ct word rone, roan: 
tangle of brushwood. Savage ( M.L.N ., 1944, lix, p. 349) 
glosses as 'whin bushes'. M. Arth., 923, has rane3. The 
word does not occur elsewhere, according to the O.E.D . 

RONKLED, pp: 'wrinkled*. O.N. hrukka, *hrunka, a wrinkle. 
Occurs only in Pricks of 0 .. 773, and as sb. in Q.M . 18840. 

ROUS, sb: 'fame*. O.N. raus . Savage ( P.M.L.A ., 1931, 
xlvi, p. 170) translates f big, loud talk', see Om,, 4910; 
Q.M ., 11948; Mann, H.S .. 5160; Met. Horn ., 43. 

300WTE3, sb: 'overhanging rooks'. O.N* skuti : cave 
formed by jutting rooks. Ooours nowhere else until the 
18th. century. 

SERE, adj: 'separate*. O.N. ser. See arm., 18653; Flor ., 
331; Avowing ., x; Pricke of a ., 48. SERELEPI : separate 
occurs in GGK and in Lang., B xvii, 164; Orm., 513; Alex. 
0., 4440. 

SKAYNED, pp: 'grazed*. O.N. skeina . Does not occur else¬ 
where. Morris translates 'wild* from O.N. skeifre , 
maintaining that the correct reading is ' skayued '. E.M. 
Wright ( E.S ., 1906, xxxvi, p. 220) connects the word with 
either dial, skeaf/soafe : a steep, broken bank, or dial. 
skave : askew. 

SNAYPED, vs 'nipped'. O.N. sneypa s outrage. O.E.D . 
translates: to be hard upon. Morris refers to o.E. snaip : 
to snub, nip, pierce. See Q.M ., 13027; Alex. G ., 3633; 
3995. Snaipeli : disgracefully, occurs Awntyrs , vii. No 
other examples given. 

SNART, adv: 'sharply*. O.N. snart . See Alex. 0 ., 3633, 

SNITEHED, v: 'sleeted*. Gp. W. Fris. snijt , anitte g a 
spit or sprinkling of rain, - Gollancz. Op. Norw. dial, 
snitra: shiver with cold. See Awntyrs ., vii, only. 

SNYRT, v: ’wounded*. Not in O.E.D . or Stratman. Gp. O.N. 
snerta : to touch. TG have 'sniclced, cut lightly* (of. 

O.N. snerta ). 

SPINET, v: ’fastened*. O.N. spenna . See A*R ., 158; 

Bruce ., iii, 582; Pearl , 49, only. 

SPENNE, sb: ’field, open country' - GGK , 1074, - Gollancz. 
Stratman derives from O.N. spenna : space, interval; 
quickset hedge, citing GGK , 1074 and Alex. C., 4162. 
'quickset hedge' is the translation Gollancz gives for GGK , 

« ► 





t. * 

i. * 






1079, 1896 from O.F. espinei. TG and O.E.D# suggest o.E. 
spin! as a derivation. 

SPENNE-FOT, adv; 'with feet close together'. Not found 
elsewhere. TG connects with M. Dutch spinnevoeten. L.G. 
spinnefoten : f to move or kick with the feet convulsively'. 
Gollancz derives from O.N. spenna s to olasp, and remarks 
that both verb and noun spend*! To leap, are found in soots. 

SPRINT, v? 'leap*. Q.N. sprenta , spretta - Gollancz and 
O.E.D . E.M. Wright ( ibid .Vp. 222) refers to B.D.D . sprent 
in so., Irel., Nhb., Yks., Ghs., Shr., 'to dart" forward 
with a spring or sudden motion'. Gf. sprint. See Pero., 
1709; Pncke of 0 ., 6dl4; G.M . 12527; Bruoe., xii, 49: 

M» Arth .V S311. 

STYMIED, v 5 'stopped'. O.N. stemna , stefna . see C.M ., 21135 
Alex. C », 2480; Purity , 905, only. 

8 WANGB, sb{ 'loins'. O.N. svangi . See M. Arth ., 1129, only 

TAYT, advs 'goodly'. O.N. teitre . See Havel ., 1841; 

Purity , 871; Alex. G ., 128 and 3979. 

TORMYItE, sb? 'trouble'. O.N# torveldi has possibly in¬ 
fluenced O.F. travail . Chaucer has travaille , Q.T ., A 2406 
eto. Not found elsewhere. 

TRAYBT, pps 'assured'. O.N# treysta - Gollancz. TG give 
O.N. traustr , assim. to traisteY V. (O.N# treysta ) and 
translate '"be sure of that *. it appears to be a Northern 
form, occurring in G.M . 7491; Prioke of G », 1366; Bruoe , 
v, 531 and is clearly regarded by stratman as a dial. var. 
of M.E# trusten, O.N. treysta, which occurs in Chaucer, 

G.T . , A 101 # The O.E.D . gives trayst as cognate with trust . 

WYNNE, adjs 'three, three-fold*. O.N* frinnr . Late o.E. 
prinna . See Cm ., 144; G.M ., 3381; Havel ., 716; Met . 

Horn., 163. 

Wo-LY, adj. & adv; 'earnest-lv*. O.N. £rar, praliga . 

Oakden ( 0p» Git ., ii, p. 176) gives this word as one used 
frequently in alliterative poetry. See C.M ., 14392; 

Trist ., 37; Sir Fir ., 3968; W. of P .» "3^4; Triam ., 405. 

WALE, ad j. & vs 'choice, to choose', cp. O.N. val s a 
choice. O.E.D. also gives O.N. veljas to choose. See G.M ., 
5375; D. Troy ., 11952; Awntyrs , xxvii; Alex. Q. , 1667. 

WARE, vs 'expend'. O.N. verja . See Mann. H.S ., 5798, only, 
in the period. 

WLAWYLLE, adjs 'wondrous wild'. O.N. lillr & prefix wella. 
See Gen, and Ex ., 975; G.M ., 23091; B.T;° > 2369; Havel ., 

63; Best., 52. 




WENER* adj: * fairer*. O.N. vaenn. GGK is given by O.E.D. 
and Stratman as the only text v/here the adj. occurs during 
the period. 

Y*YKE3, sb; * corners*. O.N. - viK as in munnvik - O.E.D. 
Purity . 1690 and GGK are the only texts cited until 1463. 

YYYLYDE, adj; f choice* from O.N. vildr - Gollancz. 
guileful* from M.E. wile - TG. TG refers to wyle3 , o.E. 
wigel, also in GGK. Does not occur elsewhere. 

YiiYLSUM| adj; *wild, devious*. O.N. villusamr - Gollancz 
and 0 jjE*D. O.E. wylle , adj. and O.E. - sum , of. O.N. 
villusamr ; *Bewildering, leading one astray*, - TG. See 
Alex. C ., 5565; g» of P ., 5394; Trev. Hig ., vii, 95; 

Egl . 867. 

WTLT, pp; *wandered*. O.N. villask. Now only in Shetland 
- O.E.D . See M. Arth ., 3S30; York., xxxviii, 17. 

Of the sixty-six words in the above group, attle, 
bur , bayn . bolne . brope-ly , dingeS , fere . glopnyng . 3ette . 
hardenss . layne . lote . lowande . nayted , rad , raoe . raged , 
rayke , reus, sere , sprent , frrynne , jproly , wale, welawylle 
and wylsum are well attested in Middle English. Blenk, 
bole , clamberande , farand , helder , ker(rre) , lyte , neked , 
rak, scowtes , skayned , snayped , spenne ( GGK ., 1074), 
stemmed , wylt, wyke5 are found in very few Middle English 

texts and their meaning in GGK is not clear from the context. 


As Tolxien and Gordon point out, bayfren py bone 
(GGK., 3S7) is an alliterative formula. It seems 
reasonable to infer that Ohaucer would have understood it in 
context. Draueled is not necessarily clear in context but 
the fact that the word is in Langland and is cognate with 

171. Tolkien and Gordon ( Op. Git .,) p. 88 





<. . .. < 

c. ? . t < 

< . . ( 

C 5 < 

< . . t . . c 

i < ?•... « 

< t . . <. < 

. .. . * < 


* 7 


O.E. dreflian suggests Chauoer might have known it. in 
view of their association and oontext, torvayle and trayst 
would probably have been intelligible and haSer , occurring 
at least in Ancren Riwle and Orm and having its meaning 
suggested in context, may have been a Scandinavian loan¬ 
word with which Chaucer was familiar. 

According to the O.E.D. rone# 'thickets* occurs 
only once elsewhere, in raneS in Morte Arthur. The word 
is not in Stratman. In Chauoer, R.R.. 1674, occurs rone 
which Robinson glosses as ^rosebush* and Pollard as 'bush*. 
Mrs. Wright does not mention Chaucer in her long note on 
rone# but Chaucer is presumably using the same word. 

The meaning of gryndelly is clear in G-GK ., £299 
and in the case of wylyde it would seem that Chaucers 
guess would have been as good as anyone else r s. The 
following words might have been understood in context: 
blande . dryftes . for# , herle . nirt, rake, ronkled , snart . 
snitered . snyrt . spenet . apenne-fot , swange , tayt » ware 
and wener . 

In this group, therefore, fifty words might have 
been understood by Chaucer and for sixteen words there is 
insufficient evidence to suggest that he would have under¬ 

stood them 


The final group of words to be dealt with in GGK 

consists of those in which either derivation or meaning is 

obscure. They are of all kinds, - Interjeotions, descriptive 

words, local terms and others, chosen by the poet, it seems, 

^ 172 

in his T recherche de la oonsonne alliterante* or for the sake 

of artistic effect. Some of the problems are textual but 

many are due to the originality in vocabulary commented on by 

Huohon or perhaps to the f sense-stretching audacity of the 

Gawain poet f . In many cases the words are not found else¬ 
where and scholars disagree over their meaning. The 
derivations are given when known; 

172. Pons. > p* 25. 

173. Huchon, Op. Pit ., p. 240, who adds; ** C y est q,ue , 
d y abord, on rencontre dans oes quatre textes (Pearl . 

Puri t y, pat ienc e and GGK) un nomb re c onsi d Arable d e 

mo ts obsours» A souven t intronval)Te's“ ailleurs, et dont 

I TLsoloment meiae “fait autant d y Wigmes ft . '' 

174. See p. 39 , footnote 109 . 


ABL0I, adj: ’dazzled, transported, reckless’. o.F. abloj 
viveI courage; - O.B.D . and Stratman. ’Exclamation used in 
hunting, equivalent to on* on;* ~ Morris* ’Carried away 
with joy’ - TG. E*M* Wright (M.L.R., 1923, xviii, p. b6-7) 
suggests that the es of esbloi has been converted into a, 
just as in aohaufed from esonaufed . Not recorded elsewhere* 

ANGARDE, sb: ’arroganoe’* Perhaps a perversion of 0.N* 
agjarn ? ambitious, insolent - Q*E*D * TG give O.F. angarde 
and state that the extended meaning from the French has 
probably been helped by M*E. overgart ; arroganoe* Brett 
( M.L.R .* 1918, viii, p* lbO) considers two distinct words 
must have existed in early M*E*, (i) overgard. similar to 
Mod. Icel. gort* pride, (ii) angard, O.F. ang(u)arde, 
late Lat* antegardia g pride or watch-tower. For overgart 
see Orm., blGS, lb7~‘/0; C. Love., 993; W. of P. 1^69: for 
angarte see Win. and WastY , 267* Angerdly , a word confused 
with angarde - according to Brett, occurs in D* Troy 42 

ATWAPED, v; ’escaped’ - Gollancz and TG. Gollancz compares 
E* Fris s wappen ; to swing. TG gives O.B. aetj away and 
wappe : to rush (echoic). Morris gives wap from O.N. vapp , 
adding * it is generally explained by a blow or stroke which 
was probably its original meaning’. 

BARLAY, interjs ’I claim’, perhaps a corruption of O.F. 

f arloi - F. Madden ( Syr* Gawayne ). A corruption of ’by our 
a'dy’ Morris. ’Without resistance shovin’ - TG. O.E.D ., 
ivi.E.D . translate as ’an interjection used to confirm a 
pledge’. D.O.3.T . and Halliwell refer to a game of tag 

called barlibreak and Jamieson ( Diet* seots. Lang .) suggests 
O.F. barall ; barriers. S.D.D . and Scots* Dial* Diet ., cite 
dialectal uses and two principle meanings; cry of truce and 
the equivalent of ’ bags I ’. This latter meaning is accepted 
by E. M. Wright, (E.S., 1906, xxxvi, p. 210). Bareley, 
barly occurs in D. Troy , 68, meaning ’wholly, entirely’ but 
is, presumably, a different word. 

BILAGGED ? The MS reads bi lag mon . Morris suggests 
be-lagh s below. Meaner ( P.Q, .. 19 r 5Y x p. 166) suggests: 
lad hem bi lag-mon : led them astray. He quotes Audelay’s 
Poem, 54/114, ’ Hit ledys 3oue be lagmon be lyus ’ - fleshly 
lust deceives you.'. Gollancz, giving the note "on Menner, 

(p. 121) points out that in the E.D.D . lagman is the last 
of a gang of reapers in Shropshire. So the true meaning may 
be; leads you so that you come out last , with a derivation 
from Norw. Dial, laggaj to go slowly and evenly. TG give 
bilaged s splashed with mud , but do not explain. For 
belaggyd , PrornpY Parv ., il6, Mayhew refers to W. de 
Biblesworth, 173, esclate - ’bilagged v/it swirting’. In 
this sense the word survives in East Anglia. 









c * * 





t « * '■ * * 




BLAUIvtSR, 3b: *fur* ? From blaun(n)er, blanoemere (blano 
dejner: sea white): f a species or white fur used to - line 
hoods* - 0jJS±2* Gollancz refers to Kaluza’s suggestion for 
Lib* Des ., 129 - that it was a compound of blaun from o*F. 
blano and O.F. neir , black, hence ermine. Pons translates: 
de fourrure immaoulee * Coer de L > 6526 reads: 

robe ifurryd with blaun and nere. 

BLUBRED, v: ’foamed*. Probably echoic. See Patience , 221 
and y bloberond * p* Troy, 9 642, Blubber (bubble) occurs in 
Test, Gres // l92"nd~ ~bTobure in Promp, Parv , 42, 

BORELYCH, adj: ’stout’, Etymology uncertain - 0 ,E*p . 
Gollancz suggests O.E* btfriio, TG compare O.E* bUrli'ce, 

See Perc., 269; C.M ., SMIf" Purity ,1488, 

BRSSED, adj; ’bristly’* Etymology uncertain. See Purity , 
1694, Morris compares Soots, birs , birse ; bristle, 

GAPADOS, sb; ’hood* ? O.F* cap a dos : oape to back? - 
0 *E*D * TG have * Gappadooian leatlier Tacket f and G*L* 

Hamilton~[ M,P , v p, 565-76)has a French ’ chaperon T , E.M. 
Wright ( J.S.G.P* , 1955, xxxiv, p. 166) interprets it as a 
kind of cap valJh. a oape . The best description is given Fy 
Pons (Qp. Git ,pV 40-1) who states that the capados , a 
shaped piece of leather put on the back and enclosing the 
neck, on which the hauberk and coat of mail were placed, 
is similar to the capuchon described in the wardrobe 
accounts of Edward III, Gapados is mentioned in the French 
romance Fierabras , 

CHARCOLE, sb: ’charcole’. Scholars agree that the 
derivation of char is unknown, the second element being 
from O.E. col. See also Awntyrs , 9 xxxv. 

GHILD-GERED, adj: ’of childish behaviour’ ? As Gollancz 
points out, this adjective occurs nowhere else. He suggests, 
as the derivation, child and gered , the latter being from 
O.F. ohiere/giere . In Ohaucer, 0,T ,, A 1572, A 1551, geere 
is glossed as t behaviour t by Pollard ( Globe Edition ), TG 
give merry ; Pons gives enfantif , 

GHYMBLED, pp: f muffled up*. Compare O.N. kimbla : to truss 
up - Gollancz, TG and Stratman. Morris asms whether the 
word is connected with Eng* dialect chymb from Dutch, kimnie : 
rim or edge of vase. See Ohaucer, chymbe, C.T . A 5696. 

E.M. Wright m.S ., 1906, xxxvi, p. 210) suggests it is 
derived fr*om dialect word, cham , meaning ’awry’* The word 
does not occur elsevjhere. 

GRA^AYN, sb; ’caitiff*. Derivation obscure - 0,E,D ., 
Gollancz and TG* Not mentioned in Stratman. See also 



Melayne , 680 and Alex. C ., 5078. 

DE7AYE, v; •forbid*. O.F. de(s)vier - Gollanoz. TG 
translate as deny from O.F* deve (i)er. Brett (M.L*N., 1915, 
x, p. 195) suggests it is from Lat. deviare . E.M. Wright 
( E.S ., 1906, xxxvi, p. 209) connects it with devaller, to 
slide or go down (Cotgrave), in dialects desist. Madden 
and Morris change the word to * denaye *. 

D0NKAKDE, pres, p; *dripping*. Etymology uncertain. Dame, 
adj., darkness, sb., were Known from 14th. century. See 
Wright , xii, 44; D. Troy , 9659; M. Artn ., 3248;’ S. of 
Jer., 624. E.D.D. gives donn/d unE/dank in dialect, and 
donkindale ; humidity rising in tie evening in the hollow 
parts of the me ado w - Nhb . 

ENBAKED, adj: * fortified* ? Pons ( Op* Git ., p. 30) 
states; !> 0e terme, certainment rnoins - technique que 
fantalsist ement ImalPT est f ormff sur blF* lane, plus 

partTcTilieVement Provencal que francals, puisqu* il 

app'a'rtient aujourd*~hui^elidQre a* ce dialect e trdB vivant - 

mot qui signlfie * corne*, * 1*08 flu crane des boeufs, des 

cerfs et "des chevres^^TGodefroy)’."** pons translates* 

enoorn6. TG use Skeats interpretation ( Trans. Phil* Soc *, 
vi, p. l365T^- *furnished with bantels or outv/orks of the 
type in England called horn works from O.F. bane ; horn. 
O.E.D. and the M*E*D * stress the French provincial 
derivation; ban , bana. Although Gollancz translates 
•fortified*, * 11 fre best lawe * seems to imply some kind of 

FADE, adj; *hostile*. Morris connects with loei. foed ; 
enmity. M.E.D* suggests it may be the past. part, formed 
on O.N. fa; foe, and gives two meanings; hostile or bold . 
I* Jackson (D.q., 1950, Jan. 21.) g^ves fade as a Breton 
word, fata, late Lat, fadus , of. fee , fairborne , and trans¬ 
lates * elvish** G.T. Smithers ( N*q .> 1950, April 1.) 
suggests the Gawain poet may have picked up the word fadus , 
fada from reading Gervase. Stratman, with no derivation, 
gives * great, powerful*. Pons refers to Onions ( T.L.S ., 

Jan. 1927.) saying that the word meant tne same as' ’green* 
in Lancashire, the green in Jane Eyre - *belonging to the 
fairy world*. See also O.M ., 5539; Perc ., 615; Trist ., 

FAGE, sb; *deceit* ? The MS has sage which Morris 
equates with segge . The emendation was first made by G.T . 
Onions ( T.L.S .» Aug. 15 & Sept. 20, 1923, & Feb. 5, 193lT 
and is accepted by Gollancz and TG . Fage also occurs in 
Wycl* Serna* 1. 44 and Lyd. Troy, 453. Derivation unknown. 








FLOSCHE, sb: 'pool*. op* O.F. flache, of* flash and flush: 
pool - O.E.D. Gollancz suggests it may be onamatopeio. 

Morris refers to Old Soots* flouss and quotes Promp. Parv.* 
163, " plasohe or flasohe where reyne water stondythe, torrens , 
lacuna 7 *^ The" word s~urvives~~in dialect, flasoh. "see N.V.Ps,, 

67i] Alex* 0 *, 2049; S. of Jer * * 571* 

GLODE, sb: ? *a place free from brushwood* - 0*E*D*; 

* glades* - Morris; *open space or patch* (line Slal), *on 
the ground* (line 2266) - TG. E.M. Wright ( J.E.G.P *, 1935, 
xxxiv, p. 172) quotes glode used in Bedfordshire dialeot to 
indicate a peculiar brightness such as the sun coming out 
after dark olouds and rain* Taking the root idea as 

* gleaming*, Gollancz translates GGK, 2161, as *patchas of 
grass*; GGK , 2266, as *the bright surface of snow*; Pearl, 
79, as *bright patches of cloud*; St* Erk * * 75, as *bnght 
space within a coffin*, and Alex* C *, 1334, as *open forest 
space*. Stratman, citing only Alex* G *, 1334, gives no 
translation and no derivation* 

GRAIN, sb: * forked blade branching off from the pike head* 

- Gollanoz. From O.N. grein : branch of tree - O.E.D. TG 
translate * spike of axe», stratman gives socket with a 
query and cites examples in GGK and K» Alls * * 6527* Pons 
translates: la pointe * E.M. Wright ( E.S ., 1906, xxxvi, 
p. 212-13) translates: rt the thickest part of the head of 
the axe where it, as it were, branches off from the stem of 

the handle Tt * Brett (M.L.R., 1915, x, p* 190) suggests it 

may W the spike at the back of the axe. 

GRYED, sb: *shuddered», op. 0. Swed. grwa , Dan* grue , Lancs, 
dial, gry : to have a slight fit of ague - Gollanoz; *cried 
in anguish* - TG; cp. O.H.G. gruen : to feel horror - Morris. 
Stratman relates the word to gruwen : to feel horror, and 
cites examples in G*M ., 23027; Mann* Chron ., 6532 and Bruce 
xv, 541. TG point out that gryd "and wept' occurs in Pains of 
Hell xi (O.E. Miscellany). Pons translates he gryed within'ne 
as * il criait au fond de lui-meme *. 

3EDSRLY, adv: *readily*. O.E. * geaedrelioe , cp. O.E. aedre 

- Gollancz; O.E. |dre, aedre - TG. Morris refers to 0.N* 
Sedugr : exceedingly, and mentions Sedire 5oskinges : great 
sobVings, in Alex. 0. , 5042. See also Purity 465~ 

HAUTE, sb: * handle*. 0.1. nelma , cogn. to O.E. hjalm with 

the sense of M.H.G. helm : handle - O.E.D . Stratman gives 
O.E. healm: stalk, but examples show this word being used as 
a stalk of grain, not as a handle of a weapon as in GGK * 

HAHLED, pp: *entangled*. Gollancz and TG compare the word 
with herle : a thread. The O.E.D . gives entangle, confuse, 
with no derivation. Morris translates: *drawn, trailed*, 








t » 





and associates with hale , GGK 138 eto. Stratman gives a 
similar translation with O.F. harler, hareler as the 
derivation. See Mann, Chron,, 5&6. 

HAPPE, v; ’enclose*. The distribution of the word from 
East, Angl, Lancs, to Soot, seems to point to an 0.N, origin 
- 0»E»D » TG suggest it may be related to ’haspe’ which 
Chaucer has as a sb. C,T, » A 3470, For happe , see C,M,, 

6802; D, Troy ,, 12627; Flor•, 112; Town,, 98; Pero., 

224; Mann, Chron., 9017 and Promp. Parv,, - lappyn or 
happyn toged~yr~Tn clopys . 

HEMELY, adv; *closely*. 

HBME^WSL| ados ’well-fitting*. From ham: Jiome and meaning 
’ fitting, suitable* - O.B.D . From O.E. gehaeme; customary 
and meaning ’neat* - TG . From Dan. hemmelig and meaning 
’secretly or closely* - Morris. GolTancz, referring to O.E. 
ham , haem- s 0.N, heimolliga ; privately, remarks that in the 
only other recorded occurrence, MS Harl, 2253, ed, Boddeker , 
153/42 , heme means * fitting*. Onions ( NYqY oxlvi, p. 204) 
takes heme as * hem *, eg. *edge». Whether the word is related 
to hamlTY" homely is not clear. Chaucer has hoomly, R.R. 

1373, etc. “ 

HOKE, sb; ’delay*. Derivation unknown - O.B.D .. Stratman, 
Gollancz and TG. See C.M. , 4795; R, and Qt ,, 341; Town ., 
228; kruoe , vi, 564; Stratman also cites the verb, honen , 
as occurring in C.M ,, 5873; Pearl , 920 and Met. Horn ., 129. 

KAY, ado*: ’left*, o. Dan. kei . Dialectal word found only 
in and Chesh . Used next, according to the O.B.D ., in 

the 17th. century. 

KNAGED, pp: ’fastened*. The Q.3.D ., Gollancz and TG., refer 
to M.B. knag; peg. Cf. Swed. knagg , German, jmagge : a knot. 
Morris translates ’nailed, rivet'e'cl’ and refers to Swedish, 
nagga : to prick. See knagged in D. Troy ., 4972 and knagg : 
peg in Flor ., 1795, 

KNARR1, sb; ’rugged rock*. Cf. L.G. knarre , - O.E.D . 
Stratman, Gollancz. Stratman cites both GGK, 1434 and 
Chaucer, O.T ., A 549 under cnarre : knot. The word also 
occurs in tlycl. Wisd., xiii 13 and 0. and ]M . where the editor, 
J. E. Wells, refers to GGK in the glossary, 1001, translating 
knarres as crags. In Chaucer, C.T ., A 549, the translation 
is ’thick-set fellow’ and C.T. , A 1977 for knarry ’gnarled*. 

KEORNED, adj: ’knotted, gnarled or rough* ♦ Cf. M.L.G. 
knorre; knob - O.B.D., Gollancz, TG* Morris refers to Swed. 
morla : to twist, curl. O.E.D . cites only St. Marti ., 1225 
while Stratman gives knor : knot in Ber ♦, 2514. 

LOUPE, sb: ’window’ - GGK . , 792. ’loop’ - GGK ., 591. 
Probably connected with M. Du. lupen : an opening in a wall 





to look through - Q.E.D . TG gives the derivation as ouscure. 

MISY, sb: ’quagmire*. Perhaps related to O.E. meos: hog - 
Morris, Gollancz, TG and the O.E.D. TG state that it is 
found only in GGK and occurs in mod. Lancs, dial, mizzy . 

MEST-HAKEL, sh: ’cloak of mist T . O.E. myst : mist and O.E. 
haoele/haecele : cloak or mantle, - Q.E.D ., TG and Gollancz. 
E.M." Wright TE’.S. xxxvi, 1906, p. 216) quotes dialect use of 
hackles: straw covering of beehive. 'Hat* she considers to 
he a better parallel than 1 cloak*. The word is not found 
elsewhere. Chauoer has myst in H. of F ., 352. 

MUGED, v: ’lay damp*. Probably of Scandinavian origin, of. 
Norw. mugga , - Q.E.D .. TG and Gollancz. The word is not 
found elsewhere but presumably survives in ’ muggy *. 

MOLAYNES, sb: ’embossed ornaments of a bridle*. O.F. molein , 
op. M.E. mollet , O.F. molete ; a bit for a horse - Q.E.D . TG 
translate t ornamental spud's 'at each end of the horse’s bit*. 
Savage ( The Green Knight’s Molaynes , Philologies, The Malone 
Anniversary Studies, ed. T.A. Kirby and H.B. Woolf , John 
Hopkins press, Baltimore, 1949) devotes twelve pages to the 
word and quotes Kelham’s Dictionary of the Norman Language , 
London, 1799 - mole ins pur freins: bits', bosses for bridles. 
E.M. WrigEi" ( E.3 ., 1906, xxxvi, p. 215) interprets molaynes 
as trappings of the horse’s bridle. She adds: "the word is 
not recorded elsewhere in M.E. literature but it remains in 
the Mid. and S. Mid. dialects. Of. E.D.D . MULLEN, sb...l. 
the head-gear of a horse...2. Mullin-bridle, ’a kind of 
bridle with blinkers, used for cart-horses’ Tt . Pons trans¬ 
lates: ’bossettes* and Stratman; ’some ornament of a 

NCKS, sb: ’angle* M.E. nok may parallel Norw. dial, nok, - 
Q.E.D . Stratman gives no derivation. See G.M . , 19845; 

Havel., 820; Mann. Ghron ., 5810; Sir Degr ., 165. 

N0HN1, NURSE, v: ’Proffer, make advances, urge, say*. 

Origin obscure - O.I.D., and Gollancz. Morris refers to 
A.S. gnornian: to complain, TG to Swed. dial, word, norna / 
nyma:' ‘ td' inform secretly* The word occurs five times Tn 
GGK , three times in Purity , lines 65, 669, 803, three times 
in St. Erk., 101, 152, 195, and nowhere else. Oakden (Op. 
Gitm iV p. 180) gives norne/nurne : announce, propose, as 
an alliterative word and remarks it is not found elsewhere. 

NOTE, adj: ’short-haired part* ? Gollancz gives this 
translation from O.E. knot, short-haired, instead of TG’s 
’in readiness* from O.E. notu. Chaucer has n ot-hed : 
cleanly shaved in G.T., A 109. Note is also a dial. var. 
of Nut, O.E. hnutu: nut. In the EoD.D. NUT (5) is given as 









’cavity in the head just below the ear’, - in Lin. and East. 


His longe louelyoh lokke3 he layd ouer his oroun. 

Let the naked neo to pe note schewe. 

GGK 419-20 

would then read: his lovely long hair he laid over the 
orown and let the naked - ~neoK "show to just below the ear . 

Since the ureen Knight has*Tong looks, ’short-haired* does 

not seem appropriate. 

FERNYMG, pres, p: greening*. Usually taken as the v., sb., 
or pres. p. of a conjectural verb, pern , metathesized preen 

- O.E.D. Stratman equates with proineh but queries, occurs 
only in GGK: papjaiez painted pernyng . Ghaucer, C.T ., 

A 2011, has proyneth which Robinson translates as 1 prune, 
make trim 1 . According to the O.E.D ., proyne was a variant 
of prune , assimilated to preen , an allusion to the pricking 
action of a bird’s beak. 

KABUL, sb: ’crov^d’. Gollancz compares with L.G. rabbeln , 

TG with O.F. rabler : to make a confused noise. No 
derivation is given by O.E.D . and Stratman and the word does 
not occur elsewhere during the period. 

RASSE, sb: ’eminence 1 . O.E.D ., Stratman and Gollancz give 
no derivation but translate ’top or peak*. TG derives rasse 
from O.F. ras: smooth bank; Morris from O.N. reysa: a 
mound. Occurs also in purity , 446. 

RABBLED, pp: ’footed’. Perhaps the same word as ratheled 
’intertwined’, cited under raddle , but in that case the 
connection with the various senses of raddle becomes doubtful 

- O.E.D. Gollancz compares A.F. reidelle : a stout stick or 
d ole"*" O.F. reddalle. TG translate ’entwined’, Morris ’fixed, 
rooted’. The word does not occur elsewhere. 

KELE, v: ’rush about violently’. May be related to O.E. 
hrebl - O.E.D., TG and Gollancz. See also Pearl , 147; Bev ., 
M/BTT; Lang. P.P ., G x 81. 

RUNISCE-LY, adv: ’fiercely’. Gollancz (p. 102) refers to 
runisch/renische etc. occurring in purify , 1545, 1724, 96; 

"at"fence. 1911: . .lex. G ., 2943, 4951. . Gollancz and TG give 
roynyache, St. Erk., 52, as a form of tne same word, but 
Oakden ( Op.~i TT, ii, p. 180) does not give it as such when 
he states that runiscne is peculiar to alliterative verse. 

TG state that Chaucer’s roi(g)nous , R.R ., 9otf, 617C, and 
later roynish are probably not connected* Stratman has: 
of. renischT - ?furious, terrible. Morris suggests A.3 . 
renisch: ’ hidden - from run , a mystery. According to 




t t 



(- * 






< • 


(. < 

< * * L 





Gollancz, Dr. Savage suggests connection with o.E* ryneg 

RufelS, vg bestirs* Etymology obsoure - O.E.D. and Gollanoz. 
Morris equates the word with rotheled, Purity, 59. 890 and 
translates 'prepared* from O.E.~ hraflTanl TcPbe quick, or 
Welsh, ruthr g a sudden gust, onslaught. TG suggest o«N. 
hryaja and translate 'bestirs'. 

RY(N)KANDE, pres, p: 'ringing*. MS has rykande, 2557. 

Chaucer has ryngen , C.T ., A 2bQ0 etc. 

SABATCTJDS, sbg 'steel shoes’. The ultimate origin ol* this 
word is obscure, it exists in Arabic, in Berber and in 
Basque but is probably in all these a loan word frcm the 
Spanish - O.E.D . TG translate 'broad-toed shoes'. Brett 
( M.L.IU , xxii, p. 451) suggests there is no evidence of their 
having been a particular shape - states Gollancz (p. 105). 

Most scholars agree that the word comes from Prov. sabato. 

Pons translates solerets and comments on the nom nostalgique- 
ment provencal '• 

SCHAFTEB, vg 'set'. O.E.D . translates 'set (of the sun)' 
and gives no etymology. Snerson ( J.E.G.P .. 1922, xxi, p. 

589) points out that the hunt continues, so the idea of the 
sun declining can hardly be correct, since the hunt began 
before dawn, it is reasonable to connect the word with 
sohaft g beam (of the sun), with a derivation from O.E* - 
schaPben . Savage ( P.M.L.A ., 1931, xlvi, p. 172) translates 
similarly and cites hunting procedures for collaboration. 
Gollancz, however, translates 'set', cp. O.E. sceaft g ray of 

SCHGLES, sbg ? This word has been widely discussed. TG 
accept the statement of P.G* Thomas ( E.S* , 1913, xlvii, p. 312) 
that the word is the plural of O.E* ohoXet , meaning sollerets. 
Morris suggests 'hangs down' or an error for shoes. Brett 
(M.L.R., 1915, x, p. 189) suggests 'some leather or other 
protection under or inside the thighs where the man rides' with 
a possible derivation as a ccri’upt of analogical form^from O.N. 
skal. Pons translatesg ohaussures de metal, artiouiees , 
faisant partie de l'armure, et faconnfe aussi d la poulalne . 
The' best suggestion comes from Cecily, Clark '( iT.E.l. > "l9^-5, p. 
174) who equates schol es with shoeless. Herbert Dorris 
( Costume and Fashion , Dent, London, 1911, ii, p.22) shows that 
khTghts did wear hose only, particularly with the cotenardie , 
fashionable at the time. 

SCHUNT, sb. & vg 'sudden movement, started aside'* O.E.D . 
gives no derivation. Morris, TG and Gollancz relate the word 
to O.E. scunian . Kittredge ( Op. Cit ., p. 287), pointing out 
that the word occurs in The Grene Knight of the Percy Folio, 

c i 






7 < 




i * 






t X 3 . » 





<. ■ . < 


< 7 * 4 * 


€ •' < 


l t 








considers the later writer had GGK in front of him. Stratman 
translates *avoid f . See A.R., SEES’; purity b05; Alex, c., 
IbO; M. Arth ., 1055, 38lFT~ 

SCHOKE, sb; 'earth'. Except in Pearl , 230, the word does 
not ocour elsewhere in the 14th. century, according to the 
O.E.D . TO and Oollanoz oompare Ivi.L.G . sonore. 

SELUHE, sb; 'canopy 1 . Stratman gives no derivation but TO, 
Oollancz and O.B.D. suggest lat. celatura. O.F. *oel(e)ure. 
See PI. Cr ., 2dl; Vopab., 571; E.E. Wills, 76; Promp. 

Parv . 410. 

SLMTYNG, sb; 'shooting, glancing'. From O.N. slenta; to 
slip - O.B.D . Stratman translates 'glide, fall', of. Swed. 
slinta. TO translate 'rusning flight', O.N. sletta, 
earlier * sTenta . See Amis, and A . 2279; Bev .7 0/2539. E.M. 
Wright ( E.S .Y 1906, xxxvi) takes dial, word slent : to 
slant, and states that the arrows flash slantwise through 
the air. 

SLOKBS, v; Madden translates bot slokes as 'without blows'; 
TO 'stop, enough'; Oollancz 'but thou remainsst idle' 

TTrom Norw. slok, Icel. slokr , Eng. dial, slotch: an idle 
lazy fellow); Stratman 'quenoh, stop' from O.N. slokna . 

E.M. Wright ( E.S . 1906, xxxvi, p. 221) suggests the word is 
from dialectaTv erb, slock ; to slake, extinguish, and 
translates 'continuously, without stops'. Chaucer has slake , 
abate, G.T., E 802. The word occurs also in Perc ., 1696; 

Bev ., s/711; Town ., 117; Lang. P.P ., B xviii; Promp. Parv ., 
458 - slakin ; laxo . 

SPRIT, v; 'started'. Origin obscure, - Oollancz and O.E.D . 
Not in Stratman. E.M. Wright ( Ibid ., p. 222) states; ,f It 
rarely occurs now but may easily nave been more common in 
our author's time. Of. B.D.D . Sprit(t ), v.... 'to leap; to 
run off suddenly'..". 

STRYi>>E, sb; 'a striding position'. Dialect form of stride , 
influenced by Scan, forms of articulation - O.E.D . Most 
scholars agree that it means stance , position of the legs 
when firmly placed. Not found elsewhere. 

STRofe, sb; 'valley'. From either O.E. strod ; marsh, or 
O.N. storth; small wood - O.B.D. Stratman gives O.N. 
storth’ with a query and translates 'small wood'. G-oilancz 
compares Gael. srath. TG derive the word from O.N. storth 
and refer to Ekwall's statement that mediaeval Lancashire 
place names have the same metathesized form. Morris trans¬ 
lates the word in GGK and Pearl , 115, as 'rugged', 'wild'. 

Not recorded elsewhere. 

c < 




STUHTES, sb; ? Gollancz emends to skurtes, taking GGK. 

line 601, * fre proude skyrtes * as corroVoration, and 
considering' Madden's translation of 'stirrups' as unsuited 
to the text. TG translate 'projections belonging to the 
gear of the Green Knight's horse', with a possible deriva¬ 
tion from O.E. steort , O.N. stertr: tail. In the O.E.D. 
under START; spur, projecting point, is given as one of 
the meanings and an instance is cited in Turb. Faukonrie. 
383* Promp. Parv. 436 gives stertte : handle" of a vessel 
or plough* 

TEIJELYNG, sb: 'contention'. From O.N. tefla : to play at 
tables, - Gollancz and TG> Morris has tenelyng and querios 
'trouble' as a translation. 0. a nd N., 1666, has taueled: 
play at dice. 

TY3T, v: 'intend'. Derivationjinknown, Gollancz and 
O.E.D . TG gives it from O.E. tyhtan influenced by M.E. 
difatan anT also translates »intend"'" “for GGK , 3483. See 
Wycl., Judg. xx, 33; Flor., 377; Bev. # a 838; Sir Fir., 

TOFYLCHED, vs 'seized'. Scholars agree that the etymology 
is obscure. Not recorded elsewhere. 

T03T, adj. 'firm'. Madden translates 'promptly', presumably 
from tot ; Morris gives 'courteous*, comparing with Northum¬ 
brian taght . TG translate * stout ', glossing O.E. * toht, 
taut, rel. to teon ; in M.E., influenced by ton . Gollancz 
queries the derivation from O.E. teon (part. p. tog-en). The 
O.E.D . gives to3t as a dialectal form of tough and 3tratman 
under toht : tough etc, cites GGK , 1869 and' Toght , touht, 
tou3t , " Taught in Ghaucer, Q.T. , D 2267 etc. 

TRANTES, v: 'uses tricks'. Scholars are agreed that 
etymology is obscure, Trant . sb., occurs in Town., 14b. 

TRAUKT, sb: does not occur other than in GGK . TG refers to 
M. Dutch, trant : step. 

TRASED, pp; 'ornamented*. O.E.D . translates 'plaited* and 
TG 'twined' suggesting O.F. tresoe ; tress as a possible 
derivation. Gollancz states; ’'This word 'trased* must be 
differentiated from 'trace* in the sense of 'to plait, 
twine* though O.E.D . glosses it as 'plaited' GGK , 

1738-9, reads: 

Ho hwe5 goud on hir hede, bot be haber stones 

Trased aboute hir tressour be twenty in olusteres. 

R.R ., 568-9, reads; 

And with a riche gold tressour 

Hir heed was" tressed," queyntely . 






t * 



t * 


and ’plaited* for trased and tressed seems adequate. Le 
R oman de La Rose lias treoier l 551, ’ tresser les cheveux *. 

TRAVERES, adv: ’crosswise*. MS. has traytere s which doth 
TO and Gollancz accept as a scribal error, although TG 
suggest it could represent o.F. al tretour, h tretours: 
in a detour. A > Travers ; across," occurs in Fayttes of 
Arrnes, 29/36, “5d/lv". Gower. C. A.. iii, 384 has travers: 
drawback, and Chaucer, T. and Q.. iii, 674 has travers: 
screen (eg. pulled across). 

TRELETED, past, p: ? Treleted is the MS* reading which 
Gollancz translates as trel lis'ed from O.F* trellet4. The 
O.S.D. does not cite trellis as used during the" l4th. 
oentury but stratman gives t rele st: trelliced in Alex. 

C., 3345. Trellis (of a window)' "occurs in Prornp. Parv. 

490. R.G. a’Haulerive (Dictionnaire d’An. F.) gives 
treillier : disposer en tre illis in use during the 13th. 
to 15th. centuries. TG follow the reading of Madden and 
Morris, treieted , and translate ’adorned* from O.F. 
tre(s)geter . TG do not explain the derivation but the 
word may be from O.F. tresgeter, Lat. transjactare : to 
juggle. Chaucer has tregetour, juggler, in H. of F .. 

1277, etc. (See also Prornp. Parv ., 489, 502). n.G. d*- 
Haulerive (Di c t i onnair e d* A . F'. T also gives tresgeter : 
i. traverse r y ii. fondre, iii. repr6senteravec du 
mlftal, in the 12th. and 13th. centuries, eg/ * ueT~ 
oislaus qui fu de fin or tresgite - Aeneas xii*. ’Juggled* 
in describing an el^rIyTS3y T sdress would not seem in¬ 
appropriate, if the word can be taken as an example of the 
’sense-stretching audacity of the Gawain poet* - 

Hir frount folden in sylk, enfoubled ayquere , 

ToreiT and trefeTed' ¥ith~tr 3 r fl^^aboirbe, 

GGK , 959-60. 

On the other hand, a building metaphor, in view of the word 
f toret f is also appropriate. 

TryfleS , Gollancz translates as trefoils , drawing 
attention to Purity , 1473 where Stratman also has the 
translation ’ornamented with trefoils* (with a query). 

penitotes & pynkardines, ay perles bitvjene 

So' trayied & try fled a trau'erce wer alle. 

purity , 1472-3. 

Trefoils also occurs in Awntyrs ., 510: 

Trayfoled with trafoles and trewluffes bytwene. 

Morris, in Purity , 1473, gives ’trayfoled, ornamented with 


















knots; F. treffilier . a chain maker*, in GGK, 960, Morris 
translates tryfie5 > ~trifles T and TO gives f detail* of 
ornaments, having 'the same translalTTon for GGK. 165; 

"pat were to tor for to telle of tryfles pe halue 

Pat were enbrauded abof~ t wyth brpddes ana fly3es . 

GGK. 165-6 

VtJLGED, v; ’groped blindly*. O.E.D . and TG translate »was 
patient with* from O.E. gejjyldgian whioh should normally 
give (5)puld(i)en. Gollancz suggests instead a metathesized 
form from O.h. Jukla; to grope like a blind man. Not 
recorded elsewhere. 

VwAIOS-KNOT, sbs ’light knot*. O.E.D . suggests * twisted* 
and gives derivation obscure. TO translate ’intricate* and 
suggests comparison with O.E. ^weorh . Gollancz refer to 
Onions* suggestion that the word is found in Lancs, as 
*wharl-knot*, a tight knot, and to the possibility that the 
translation may be ’cross-knot* from O.N. frverr , the first 
part of a compound in such words as frver-knyta : to knit 
with a cross-knot. Hot recorded elsewhere. 

UHTY3TSL, sb; ’trifling talk’. Scholars give no derivation. 
Gollancz compares untuhtle; want of discipline in Lay .» 
24655. TG translate ’lightheartedness*. Morris states; ’’If 
not an error for untyl nySte , may mean unrestrainedly from 
ty3t ; to fasten”. Madden gives ’merrily*. Stratman gives 
unliht , Map .. 336, 342, and the translation ’vice*. 

WAP, sb. & v; ’blow (sb)*. ’flew (v.)’. Possibly echoic. 

No derivation given. See sb., in D. Troy , 6405; whapp in 
York .. xxii, 199; wap in Alex. 0 ., 5218. Stratman has 
wappen; to wrap up s beat in D*. Troy, 9513; Purity , 882; 
Bruce., xvii, 691 etc. Chaucer has quappe ; to flutter in 
T. and C., iii, 57. 

\1HARHEB, v; ’whirred* Cp. Ban. hvirra . Not recorded else¬ 

WRAST, adj; ’strong*. 0.1. wraeat , wrast - O.E.D ., TG and 
Gollancz. Stratman suggests the word may be from wrioen; 
powerful. O.E.D. suggests that wrast may be a backformation 
in M.E. from unwrast; infirm, for which there are many 
examples. See K. Alia ., 620; 0. and N ., 178; Havel ., 2831; 

Lib. Des ., 2118. 

It is not possible to reach any conclusion about 
many words in this group. Differences of opinion exist re¬ 
garding translation, and in seme words where meanings have 








been surmised from context, from present-day dialectal 
usage or frcm words that may be related, there is no means 
of knowing how Chaucer would have translated* 

Because of their usage in the period, borelyoh , 
donkande , fade , flosohe , happe , hone , knarre, noke , role , 
sohunt , selure , slentyng , slokes , tygt , travers and wap 
may have been familiar to Chaucer and he would have known 
at least the second element in frwarle-knot * Blubred, 
crafrayn , grayn, Sederly , halme , kay , knaged, norne/nurne , 
rubes , sprit , schore and wharre he might have understood 
from context and chareole both from context and from the 
fact that he would have known at least the second element 
of this word. 

From his court association and his journeys in 

France he might have understood enbaned, molaynes , sabatouns, 


cauados and, - if one accepts Miss Clark 1 s suggestion - 
~ 176 

scholes. a.L. Hamilton*s definition of capados does not 

~~-— 177 

seem tenable because, according to Herbert Norris, the 

French chaperon ms not worn in England until the reign of 


Henry 7. Moreover in the glossary of Le Homan de La Rose 
the chaperon is explained as f ornement de tete a peu pres 
semblable aux capuces des religieux* and if this description 

175. See p. 107. 

176. See p. 1D1. 

177. Herbert Norris, Op. Cit ., ii, p. 385. 

• Le Roman de La Rose, Qp. Cit ., p. 226. 









c . < 

«. < 

i * V. - t 

« t 



is to be taken literally it does not seem to apply to a 

capados T bat wyth a brybt blaunner was bounden withinne* 


- GGK ., 673. Pons 1 suggestion appears feasible and the 
faot that the capados occurs in the Frenoh romanoe Fierabras 
which Chaucer might have read is an added reason for sur¬ 
mising that he would have understood the word. 

The meaning of abloi » atwaped » blaumer, bresed , 
chymbled , devaye , glode , gryed , iiemely , heme-wel , loupe , 
misy » muged, rasse , rabeled, runisch-ly. sturtes . strypbe * 
strobe , teuelyng , tofylohed , to3t , trantes , traunt , untyStel , 
are not necessarily clear in context. From the evidence 
available there is no means of knowing whether Chaucer would 

have unuerstood them. Trased, in view of the passages 

quoted, Chaucer might have known and, if one aocepts the MS. 
reading treletea , Chaucer might have been familiar with the 
meaning * trellised*. Wrast might have been familiar to 
Chaucer from the frequent use in the period of unwrast , but 
a difference of opinion occurs between TG and G-ollancz in 
GGK., 1663. TG have towrast which is translated *amiss*, 
and Collancz has to wrast , translated T virtue*. Childgered 
would have caused Chaucer no difficulty and angarde might 
have been familiar because of the use of overgarte and 
angarte , also meaning f pride f , in other Middle English texts. 
Since Chaucer knew halen , haryen s t pull f , he might have 

179. See p. 101. 
160. See p. 109. 



t * 











translated 4 fe 1 and fee ha3feorne were harled el semen . GGK, 74 

Of the remaining words, Chaucer might have had a 

translation for y pe sunne sonafted y , GGK*, 1467, and he 

would have Known at least the first element in myst-hamel. 


In view of the two examples given and the context, one might 
assume that Chauoer would have understood f knorned stone5 y , 

GGK*, 2166, and he would have made something of note , GGK., 

420, pernyng and perhaps of ra'bel - a word wnioh, while no 
examples are oited for the period, has oome through to 
modern speech. But it is not possible to say what Chaucer 
would have done with barlay , pulged , fage , ry(n)kande and 
bilagged . 

Barlay is an interjection and may not have any more 
significance than Chaucer*s interjection f par ma fay 1 in Sir 
Thopas, 2010, also occurring when a threat is made. Bulged 
is not recorded elsewhere. If it is a variant of holed , 
suffered, it should be remarked that Chaucer uses the word 
in C.T ., D 1546. gage , ryn(n)Kande and bilagged are textual 

Of the seventy-seven words considered in this 
group, therefore, forty-five Chaucer may have Known. In 
two words he would have Known at least one element and 
evidence is insufficient regarding the remaining thirty to 
determine how cnaucer would have translated them. 

lbl. See p.104. 



t * 







As a many-sided civil-servant, diplomat, 
courtier end scholar, Chaucer had an opportunity to acquire 
an exceptionally large vocabulary• As a keen student of 
human nature, he may have listened to people who, such was 
the movement of population at the time, came from many 
different parts of the country and spoke various dialects. 
His experience with foreign languages suggests he had a 
remarkable ear for variations in speech. Eis travels in 
France may also have familiarized him with terns connected 
with hunting, fashion and architecture used in GGK . 

In his writings, Chaucer manipulated 
dialects to suit his own purposes and he showed he had a 
knowledge of romances written in different dialects, as 
well as/at least an awareness of the alliterative school. 
The circumstances and date suggested for GGK *s composition 
make it possible for Chaucer to have read the work, end 
some striking similarities have been noted "between GGK 
and The Squire 1 s Tale . The differences between the dialect 
of GGK and that of Chaucer are not sufficient to have 
caused Chaucer difficulty in reading GGK . 


Despite the observations of scholars 
that the language of GGK is hard to translate, a large 

18S . See p. 38. 


proportion of the words used in GGK are found in Chaucer*s 
works. Problems of vocabulary in GGK can be partly ascrib¬ 
ed to what have been termed here * disputed words 1 , the mean¬ 
ing and derivation of which are either open to argument or 
have not been established. There are comparatively few loc¬ 
al words belonging to dialect but there are many * poetic' 
words, most of which have been inherited along with the 
alliterative tradition. Words derived from Old French, 

Old English and Scandinavian make up the rest of the 
vocabulary and of those v/ords not used by Chaucer many are 
found in other writers of the period. 

Taking together the groups of v/ords which 

have been discussed, we may draw the following conclusions: 

of the 2693 words examined in GGK, there are 417 v/ords which 

do not appear in Chaucer's works. Of the 417 words there is 

evidence to suggest Chaucer may have been able to translate 

357. One word, t owches , he may have understood in GGK , 120, 
1301 } but not necessarily in 1677. Ee would have understood 
at least one element in the two words myst-hake l and fewarle- 

183. The breakdown is as follows (giving first the number 
of words Chaucer may have been able to translate and 
second the number of words which, on the evidence sub¬ 
mitted, there is no reason to infer Chaucer would 
have known): hunting terms : 43:4; fashion terns: 

0: b uilding terns : 18:0; Words from 




The following two passages from GGK give 

some idea of the text as it might have appeared to Chaucer. 
Words underscored as those not found in Chaucer*s works. 

( 1 ) 

Sone pay calle of a quest in a ker syae, 

£e hunt rehayted pe hounueS pat hit fyrst mynsed, 

Wylde wordeS hym warp wyth a wrast noyce; 

Pe howndeS pat hit herde hast Id pider swype, 

And fellen ais fast to pe f uyt , fourty at ones; 

Penne such a g lauer ande glam of gedered rachcheS 
Eos, pat pe rochereS rungen aboute; 

EuntereS hem hardened with home and wyth muthe. 
ten all in a semble sweyed togeder, 

Bitv/ene a flosche in pat fryth and a foo cragge; 

In a knot hi a clyffe, at pe ker re syde , 

Per as pe rogh rocher v nrydely watS fallen, 

Pay ferden to pe finding, and frekeS hem after; 

Pay umb ekes ten pe knar re and pe krurU hope, 

WySes , whyl pay wysten wel wythinne hem hit were, 

Ye best pat per breued watS wyth pe blodhoundeS. 

Penne pay beten on pe buskeS, and bede hym vpryse, 

And he vnsoundly out so3t se&g;e3 ouerpwert, 

On pe sellokest swyn swenged out here*; 

Long sythen fro pe sounde r pat wi3t forolde, 

For he watS breme, bor alper grattest. 

Pis grymme quen he gronyed, penne greued mony, 

For pre at pe fyrst prast he prySt to pe erpe, 

And sped him forth good sped Doute spyt more. 

Pise oper halowed hyghel ful hy3e, and hey 1 hay*, cryed, 
Haden home3 to moupe, heterly r e chat e d; 

Mony watS pe miyry mouthe of men and of 

Pat buskke3 after pis bor with host and wyth noyse 
to quelle. 

Ful oft "he b yde3 pe baye . 

And mayme3 pe mute i nn me lie ; 

He hurteS of pe houndeS, and pay 
Ful Somerl y Saule and 3elle. 

GGK., 1421-1453 


All the words underlined have been discussed 


in the chapter on vocabulary in their various groups. 

In the case of mynged , wrast , f uyt , glauer ande glam , 
rachcheS , hardened , flosche , fryth , vnrydely , freke 3, 
umbekesten , knarr e, wy3es , s eggeS , s ounder , rechated , 
buskkeS , b yae3 be baye , mute inn rnelle and 3omerly 
either usage or context would have enabled Chaucer to 
have understood. Neither ker(re ) nor pry3t appear to 
have been widely used in the period and are not 

necessarily clear in context. 

Although in this passage there are 25 

words which Chaucer did not use in his works, evidence 
suggests that he would have understood the text in 
almost its entirety. 

184 . 

ker syde: pp. 93,97; mynged : p. 78; wrast:pp ^ 111> 
113; fuyt: pp. 54,58; glauer ande glam :pp. 76,81; 

hardened : pp. 93,97; flosche ; pp. 103,112; fryth. 
pp. 76,81; vnryoely : pp. 89,90; fre f§ ^ : 
'.ymbekesten: pp. 89,90; knarr e: pp.^104, 112, 

P • j°> ; pnfifiobuskkes: pp. 
Sounder: pp. -6,b8, raj— ^ ~T4,58 

^ hs^krom 0 Ban. 

melle: _pp. rechated: pp. 55,^8. 

rmelle) . Somerly*, P- ±- 

rachche3: pp. 55,58. 


( 2 ) 


Now ne3e3 ]?e Nw 3ere, and joe ny3t passe3, 

Pe day dryue3 to ]pe derk, as dry3tyn bidde3; 

Bot wylde wedere3 of ]pe worlde wakned Reroute, 

Clowdes kesten kenly pe colde to ]?e erjpe, 

Wyth ny3e innoghe of |>e norjpe, ]?e naked to tene; 

Pe snawe snitered, ful snart , ]?at snayped ]?e wylde; 

Pe werbelande wynde ■..capped fro \> e fcy3e, 

And drof vche dale ful of dryftes ful grete. 

"Pe leude lystened ful wel ]pat le3 in his bedde, 

^Pa3 he lowke3 his lidde3, ful lyttel he slepes; 

Bi vch kok ]?at crue he knwe wel \>e steuen. 

Deliuerly he dressed vp, er ]pe day sprenged, 

For ]pere wat3 ly3t of a laumpe ]?at lemed in his chambre; 
He called to his chamberlayn, ]pat cofly him swared, 

And bede hym bryng hym his bruny and his blonk 

Pat o\>er f erke3 hym vp and feche3 hym his wede3, 

And gray|>e3 me Sir Gawayn vpon a grett wyse. 

Fyrst he clad hym in his clo]pe3 ]?e colde for to were, 

And sy|>en his ojper harnays, jpat holdely wat3 keped, 

Bo]pe his paunce and his plate3, piked ful clene, 

Pe rynge3 rokked of ]pe roust of his riche bruny ; 

And al wat3 fresch as vpon fyrst, and he wat3 fayn ]?enne 
to bonk; 

Pie hadde vpon vche pece, 

Wypped ful wel and wlonk ; 

Pe gayest into Grece, 

Pe burns bede bryng his blonk . 

Whyle ]?e wlonkest wedes he warp on hymseluen— 

His cote wyth "pe conysaunce of ]pe clere werke3 
Ennurned vpon veluet, vertuus stone3 
Aboute beten and bounden, enbrauded seme3, 

And fayre furred withinne wyth fayre pelures — 

3et laft he not ]?e lace, £e ladie3 gifte, 

Pat forgat not Gawayn for gode of hymseluen. 

Bi he hade belted ]pe bronde vpon his ba!3e haunche3, 

Penn dressed he his drurye double hym aboute, 

Swyt>e swelled vrnbe his swange swetely ]?at kny3t 
Pe gordel of J>e grene silke, ]?at gay wel bisemed, 

Vpon t>at ryol red clo£e £>at ryche wat3 to schewe. 

Bot wered not Ipis ilk wy3e for wele ]?is gordel, 

For pryde of "pe pendaunte3_ « pa3 polyst ]?ay were, 

And ]?a3 £e glyterande golde glent vpon ende3, 

Bot for to sauen hymself, when suffer hym byhoued, 

To byde bale withoute dabate of bronde hym to were 
oper knyffe. 



. V . ■ ' .« , ■ . ' . 

C • x 




Bi ]pat b e bolde mon boun 
Wynne3 Reroute bilyue, 

Alle £>e meyny of renoun 
He ]ponkke3 ofte ful ryue . 

Thenne wat3 Gryngolet graybe, ]pat gret wat3 and 

And hade ben soiourned sauerly and in a siker wyse, 
Hym lyst prik for poynt, ]pat proude hors \>enne. 

Pe wy3e x^ynne3 hym to and wyte3 on his lyre, 

And sayde soberly hymself and by his soth swere3; 

T Here is a meyny in ]?is mote on menske ^>enkke3, 
Pe mon hem maynteines, ioy mot ]oay haue; 

Pe leue lady on lyue, luf hir bityde; 

3if i>ay for charytd cherysen a gest, 

And halden honour in her honde, ]?e habel hem 3elde 
T?at halde3 b e heuen vpon hy3e, and also yow alle! 
And 3if I my3t lyf vpon londe lede any quyle, 

I schuld rech yow sum rewarde redyly, if I my3t. T 
Penn steppe3 he into stirop and stryde3 alofte; 

His schalk schewed hym his schelde, on schulder he 
hit la3t, 

Gorde3 to Gryngolet with his gilt hele3, 

And he starte3 on b e ston, stod he no lenger 
to praunce. 

His habel on hors wat3 b enn 9> 

Pat bere his spere and launce. 

T Pis kastel to Kryst I kenne ? : 

He gef hit ay god chaunce. 

GGT.. 1998-2063. 


Of the words underlined, 

dryStyn , cofly , bruny , blonk, ferke3 , holdely , 

paunce , wlon k, borne, ennurned , pelures , vmbe , 


wy3e , pendaunte3 , ryue ,/ h5pex and schalk would 

185. See dry3tyn : pp. 75,81; snitered, snart; pp. 

95,98; dryftes: pp. 92,97; cofly ; p. 74; 
bruny : pp. 60,62; blank: p. 74; ferke3 : pp. 75,81; 
holdely : pp. 85,89; paunce.: pp. 61,62; rokked ; pp* 
87.905 wlonk: p. 80; bume: pp. 74,81; bnnurned: 
pp. 64; pe lures : pp. 61,"62'; ba!3e : pp. 74,81; " 
swelled: pp. 88,90; vmbe : pp. 89,9o; swange: pp. 
96,98; wy3e : p. 30; pendaunte3 : p. 61; ryue : p. 63 
mote : pp. 63,67; habel : pp. 73,79; menske ;p. 78; 

schalk : 79; snayped : pp. 95,97. 





have been familiar to Chaucer because they are widely used 

during the period. Snitered , snart , dryftes , swelled 

and swan,s;e (which also occurs in GGK , 38) Chaucer may have 

known through context. In the case of dryftes, it should 

be pointed out that the word has survived to modem speech 

and may have been used more widely than is indicated in 


the texts. E.M. Wright suggests that even words which 
are rarely used now may have been more common during the 
period. Snayped , rokked and ba!3e are not widely used 
and their meaning is not necessarily clear in context. 

In the two passages quoted, there are 
52 words which do not occur in Chaucer* s works. Of 
the 52 words, Chaucer would have known at least 47. 

I conclude that, on the basis of all the evidence submitted, 
Chaucer would have had very little difficulty in under¬ 
standing GGK . 

186. See p. 108 under Sprit , 


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c < 


A. D. 

A • R • 

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Alex. 0. 

Amis and A. 

Arth. and M* 



B. 3. 





C. Love. 


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B. of D. 

C. T. 

Ho of F. 



To and C. 

Coer de L* 
Cot. Horn. , 

D. Troy. 

Do of Jer. 


S.Eo Wills. 


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F.iM'o Hobinson, Houghton Mifflin Co., New 

York, 1933. 

The Boole of the Duchess . (Hobinson Edition) 

The Canterbury Tales . n 

The House of Fame . " 

The Legend of Good ./omen . n 

The Romaunt of the Hose . " 

Troilus and Cr is eyelet " 

The Students Chaucer , W.W. Sxeat, Oxford 
Clarendon Press, 1895. 

Chaucer: The Minor Poems , v/.W. Skeat, oxford 
Clarendon Press, 1896. 

The Complete Works of Chauoer, W.W. Skeat, 
Oxford IJniversity Press, 19^9. 

The Works, of Chaucer , A.W. Pollard, Macmillan, 
London, 1932. 

Richard Coer de Lyon , Teber's Metrical 
Romances, II, 1810."' Kent. a. 1400. 

The Cotton Vespasian Homilies in O.E. Homilies, 
H. Morris, E.E.T.3., 53, 1«73, S.W. 1175. 

The Ludus Coventriae , 1.0. Halliwell, 
Shakespeare Society, London, 1841. N.B.M. 
a. 1400. 

The Boke of curtaisie in the Babees Book etc. 
(see above). W.M. 1430. 

The G-est Hystoriale of the Destruction of 
Troy, G.A. Panton and D. Donaldson, E.E.T.3., 
397 56, 1369-74. N.W.M. 1350-1400. 

Titus Vespasian or the Destruction of 

Jerusalem, J.A. Herbert, Roxburghe Club, 

I9UFT S.S.M. 1375-1400. 

Sir Degare, Middle English Romances, J.H. 

French and G.3. Hale, 1930. S.W. 1330. 

The Fifty Earliest English './ills , F.J. Furni- 
7all, E.E.T.S., 76, 188*. S.S.M. 1387-1439. 

Sir Eglamour of Artois. J.0. Halliwell, The 
‘1 norn?on‘ ilomances, "Camden Society, 1844. 

E.M. a. 1400. 

Bmare in Ritson T s Metrical Romances, II, 180*. 
E’.M. c. 1400. 


i ( 


F. and Blanche. 

Fayttes of 








Gen. and Ex* 
Gower, G.A. 

Gower, M* 






J. of Arim. 

IC. Alis* 

Floris and Blunchefleur, H. Lumby, E.E.T.S., 

iiVTdeeT" stt: " iato. 

Paxto n 1 s Fayttes of Armes and of Chivalrye , 

A.T. %les", 3.E.T'.'S., 189, 1932. 

Le Bone Florence , in Ritson^ Metrical 
Romances, III, 1803. N.M. o. 1440. 

Sir F. Madden, Syr Gawayne, Bannatyne Club, 

R. Morris, Sir Gawayne and the Green Knigh t, 
E.E.T.S., 4, Kegan Paul, London, 1864. 

J.J.R. Tolkien and S.7. Gordon, Sir Gawain 
and the G r een Knight , oxford Clarendon 
Press, 192*5. 

I. Gollanoz, Sir Gawain and the Green I2night , 
E.E.T.3*, 210, Humphrey Milford, Oxford 
University press, 1940. 

Emile pons, Sire Gauva in et L e Chevalier vert , 
Aubier, Paris, 1946. 

The Story of Genesis and Exodus, A. Morris, 
2.2.T.3., 7, 1835*. 3.M.' IHFG7 

Confsssio Amantis , The Complete ./orks of John 
Gower, G.C. Macaulay, Oxford Clarendon press, 
1899. S.M. c. 1390. 

( Mirour de l f Homme .) (See above). 

The Romance of Guy of Marwic k, J. Supitsa, 
E.E.T.S*, E.S., xlii, 1685. E.M. a. 1325. 

Horn child and Maiden Rimnild in Ritson f s 
Metrical Romances, 1802. Southern part of 
N.E.M. o. 1320. 

The Life of Ipomado n, E. Kolbing, Breslau, 
1689* North. Lancs, c* 1350. 

Ipofys, Altenglisc'he Legenden , Horstmann, 

1861. S.’V. o. 1350. 

Twaine and Pawin in Ritson T s Metrical 
Romances, 1602. North. 1300-1350. 

Joseph of Arimathie, 7.W. Skeat, E.E.T.S., 

44 , xo'/i; Extreme' S.M. 1350. 

Lyfe of ICing Allsaunder , G.Y. Smitners, 
E.E.T.S*, 227, 1952. London or Kent. 



King Horn* 


Lain* Horn* 


Lang* P.P. 

Lang* R* R. 

Le Freine. 

Lib* Des. 

Liber C.O* 

Lyd. f.p. 

London English. 

M* Arthur. 


Mann. Chron. 

Mann* H*3* 


King Horn * J. Hall, Oxford, 1901. 

Layamon*s Brut * F* Madden, Sooiety of 
Antiquaries, London, 1647* S*W.M* 

The Lambeth Homilies in the O.E. Homilies, 
H* Morris, E.E.T.S., ay, lo67. E.M. 


Lanfrano t s Science or Cirurgie , R. 
Fleisc.onactcer, E.E.T.S., 102, 1394* E*M* 
o* 1400. 

Piers the Plowman * W.W. SKeat, E.E.T.S*, 
2d,'54', "67, 61. 1667-65. S.'W* 

A texts o. 1362. B texts c. 1377. 

C texts o. 1593* 

Richard the Redeles * T. Wright, Camden 
Sooiety, 1636, and W.W* Sfceat, E.E.T.S., 

54, 1873. S.W. 1399* 

Lay le Freine in Weber*s Metrical Romances, 
TtiWl sTOTT o. 1325* 

Libeaus Besconus, E. Kolbing, Heilbronn, 
1663—90* S.E. C* 1350* 

Liber Cure Cooorum , R. Morris, Philological 
Sooiety," 1662. WTM. 1475. 

F all of Prince s f N* Bergen, E.E.T.S.,E.S., 
cxxi, cxxii, cxxiii, cxxiv, 1916-1919. 

E.M. 1420. 

A Book of London English . R.v;. Chambers and 
M* Daunt, oxford Clarendon Press, 1931. 
London. 1364-1425. 

korte Arthur.. E. Brocx, E.E.T.S., 8, 1665. 
M.W.M* c. 1400. 

Tne Voiage and Travaile of St* John 
Mandeville, J.c. Halliwell t London. 1639. 
soil cTT400. 

Robert Manning 1 s History of England . F*J. 
Furnivall, Rolls Series, 1667* N.E.M. 

c* 1356. 

Handling Sinne , F.J. Furnivall, Roxburghe 
Club, lo39. K.E.M. c. 1340* 

The Latin Poems of Walter Map , T. Wright, 
Camden Society, 16, 1641. Oxford. 1310* 


< * 











s < 




Met. Horn. 




0. and N. 
O.E. Horn. 




Pall, on Hus. 

Pearl ) 
Purity ) 
Patience ) 


Pil. Sowle. 

The Siege of Helayne . S.J. Herrtage, E.E.T.S., 
E.S., xxxv, lddO, 1350-1400. North. 

Merlin or The Early History of King Arthur , 

T.E. Mead, E.E.T.3.," 112, ld99. sT or 3.M. 

O. 1400. 

Selections from Early Middle English . J. Hail, 
0x1* or a, 1920. 132 o. 

The Poems or Laurenoe Minot . J. Hall, Oxford, 
1914. Soots. 13o2. 

An O.E. Miscellany . R. Morris, E.E.T.S., 49, 
ItiYff. H.M. and Kent. a. 1300. 

The Northern Verse Psalter . 0. Horstmann, 
ld96. Yorics. aT 1400. 

The Owl and the Nightingale , J.E. Wells, 

Boston, 1907. S.w7 o. 1195. 

The Old English Homilies , R. Morris, E.E.T.S., 
297 34, 1867-d. 

The Romance of the Emperor Ootavian , J.o. 
Haliiweil, Percy Society, xiv," 1844. S.E.M. 
c. 1350. 

Sir Orfeo , herausgeben von 0. Zieiker, 

Breslau, 1880. S*M. c. 1300. 

The Ormulum by Ormin, R.M. White, Oxford, 
ld52, re-ed. R. Holt, 1878. N.E.M. c. 1200. 

^he Parlement of the Three Ages, I. G-ollancz, 
Roxburghe Club, 1897. E.M. c. 1350. 

Paliadius on Husbondrie, S.J. Herrtage, 

E.E.T.S., 72, 1U79. 17m. o. 1420. 

Early English Alliterative Poems . R. Morris, 
E.E.T.S., 1, 1864. N.W.M. c. 1360. Gollancz ed, 
Pearl, Ghatto and Windus, 1921. 

The Romance of Sir Perc is; al of Galles , J.O. 
Haliiweil, The Thornton Romances,Camden 

Society, xxx, 1844. Yorks, a. 1400. 

The Pylgremage of The seme . from ae Guille- 
ville, Caxton, 1483. E.M. c. 1400. 






PI. Or. 

Pieroe the Ploughman*s Creed. tf.W. Skeat. 
E.E.T.S., 36, 166?. S. 1394. 

Poema M. 

Poema Morale* Moral Ode. o.S. Homilies, 
R. Morris, E.E.T.S., 29, 34, 1867-a. 3. 


pricke of 0. 

The PrioKe of Conscience by R. Rolle de 
Hampole, r. Morris, Pnilological Sooiety, 
1863. Yorics. C. 1314. 

Promp. Parv. 

Promptorium Parvulorum sive clericorum. 

Lexicon Anglo Latinum Prinoeps, A.L. 

Maynew, E.E.T.S., 102, 190a. Norfolk. 

R. and Ot. 

Duke Rowlande and Sir Ottuell. E.E.T.S.. 
E.S., xxxv, s.J. Herrtage, ia80. N. 

0. 1400. 

Rel. Ant. 

Reliquae Antiquae, T. Wright and J.O. 
Hallfweil, London, 1641-3. 1400. 


The Seven Sages of Rome. K. Brunner. 
E.E.T.3., 191, 1932. Mostly Kentish, 
c. 1330. 

S. of Jer. 

The Siege of Jerusalem. S. Kolbing and 

M. Day, E.E.T.S., 168, 1931. M.W.M. 
a. 1400. 

S. Leg. 

The South English Legendary, C. d , Evelyn 
and A.J. Mill, E.E.T.S., 236, 1956. S. 
o. 1300. 

St. Eric. 

St. Erkenwald, H.L. Savage, Yale Studies 
in English, 72, 1926. W.M. c. 1366. 

St. Join. 

The Gospel According to St. John, W.YJ. 
Siceat, Cambridge, 1667. Kent. c. 1150. 

St. Marh. 

Seinte Marherete, F.M. Mack. E.E.T.S.. 

193, 1934. Herefordshire, c. 1230. 

St. Matt. 

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, W. 

W. Skeat, Cambridge, 1887. Kent. 1150. 

So. Leg. 

Legends of the Saints in the Scottish 
Dialect of the Fourteenth Century. S.T.S. 
1896. c. lST^. 

Serving Christ. 

An O.E. Miscellany. R. Morris, E.E.T.3., 
49, 1872. E.M. c. 1200. 


« * t 




Sir Degr. 
Sir Fir. 

Sir Isum. 

T. 0. Horn. 
Test. Cres. 

Trev. Barth. 

Trev. Hig. 



Two 0. Books. 



The Religious Poems of William de shorehom , 

T. bright, the Peroy society, xxviii, lb49. 

Kent, 1315. 

The Romanoe or Sir Degrevant . L.F. Gasson, 
EVE.T.S., 1941. NT 0. 1440. 

Sir Firumbraa , The Bn dish Charlemagne 
Romances, S. J. Herrtage, E.E.T.S. ,JE.S., 
xxxiv, 1679. S.Yf. 1360. 

The Romance of sir Isumbras . J.o. Halli- 
well, The Thornton Romances, Camden Sooiety, 
xxx, ld44. E.M. a. 1350. 

Squyr of Lowe Degre , Ritson f s Metrical 
Romances, 1802. E.k. c. 1475. 

Trinity College Homilies . E.E.T.S., 53, 

idVa. s.eTIj. a." lass. 

The Poems or Robert Henryson . S.T.S., 1906- 

The Townley Plays . G. England and A. Pollard. 
E.E.T.S. ,S.S., lxxi, 1897. E.M. c. 1460. 

Trevisa y s Englisning of Bajrtholomaeus de 

Proprie'tat ib'us Rerum. ,/. de Norde. 1495. 

STW. 1396. 

John de Trevisa f s Polychronicon Ranulphi 

Hlgden, 0. Babington and J.R. Lurnby, London, 

Rolls Series, 1665-6. S.W. a. 1367. 

The Romance of sir Triamoure . j.o. Halli- 
well, Percy Society, xvi, ld46. R.M. c. 

Sir Tristrem , G.P. McNeill, S.T.3., viii, 
1665. E.M. c. 1330. 

Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books. Thos. 
Austin, E.3.T.3., 91, load. E.M. 1430- 

A Volu me of Vocabularies from a treatise 
of Walter de Bibbeswcrth, T. Wright, 1657. 
E.M. 1265. 

William of Palerne , W.W. Skeat, E.E.T.S., 
E.S .9 1, 1667. 3.W.M. c. 1352. 

W. of P 



Wyn. G Jar on. 

Win. and W r ast. 



The Holy x,ible in the earliest English 
Versions made from the Latin Vulgate by 
John Wycliffe and his followers, J. For- 
shall and E. Madden, lti50. S.W. o. 1380. 

Seleot English Works of John Wyolif , T. 

Arnold, Oxford"," lb69-71. 

De Orygynale Gronykil of sootland by 
Androw of wyntoun, London, 1V9 5. Soots. 

C. 1425. 

Wynne re and Wastoure in The Parlement of 
the Three Ages, I. Gollancz, Roxburghe Club, 
189V. E.M. or W.W.M. 1353. 

T. Wright f s Specimens of Lyrio Poetry 
composed in the reign of Edward I . Percy 
Society, 1842. 

The Plays Performed by the Grafts or 

Mysteries of York ,' L.T. Smith,' oxford. 

lSSvT York. cV 1430. 




Hunting Treatises etc . 

B. of St* A* 


M. of G. 

T. of Fyssch. 



Treatises on hunting, hawking and ooat- 

armour trad it ionally ascribed to Dame 

Juliana Berners of Barnes. Printed at 
St. Albans, I486, and ed. in facsimile by 
W. Blades, 1901. 

A Snort Treatise of Hunting by sir Thomas 
Cookaine, l59l, ed. by j ,Vr, Halliday, 
Oxford University press, 1933. 

Master of Game , by Edward, 2nd Duke of 
York, ed.' by~ W.A. Baillie Grohman, Edin¬ 
burgh, 1904. 1406-1413. 

Treatyse of Fysshinge with an Angle , 

attributed to Dame 5V Barnes, ed." by T. 

Satchell, London, 1883. 

Le Art de Venerie in The Art of Hunting , 
ed. by Sir H. Dryden, 1843, and re-edited 
by Alice Dryden, Northampton, 1908. 

The Noble Art of Venerie or Hunting, 
usually ascribed to George Turberville. 
Printed in London, 1576, and reprinted in 
the Oxford Tudor and Stuart Library, 1908. 

Medieval French Texts 

La Qhace dou Gerf (13th. century) in The Art of Hunting by 
Sir H. Dryden (See above). 

Le Livre de ^hasse of Roy Modus (c. 1360), attributed to Henri 
Ferrieres, ed. byGunnar Tilander, Paris, 1931. 

Le Roman de La Rose , Guillaume de Lorris et Jehan de Meung, 
ed. M. lieon, Paris, 1814. 

Chaucer Concordance 

J.S.P* Tatlock and A.G. Kennedy, A Concordance to the Complete 
Works of Geoffrey Chaucer , Carnegie Institute, ./ashington,” 1927, 

s t 

K t 







3 tratman. 

A Plotionary of Archaic and Provinoial 

Words * J. 0 . Halliwell, Gibbings. Lond on. 


A Diotionarie of the French and English 

Tongues' , Randle Cotgrave. 1611, university 

of South Carolina Press, 1950. 

Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue , 

Sir ./. Craigie, llrirversity of Chib ago 

Press, 1931-55, parts A-J. 

The English pialeot Dictionary . J. Wright, 
Frowde, Oxford, 1898. 

The Middle English Dictionary * H* Ilurath 
and S.W. Kuhn, University of Michigan 
press, 1954, parts A; 3-Bis; E; F. 

The Oxford English Dictionary , J.A.H. 

Hurray, PI. Bradley, Vi.A. Craigie, C.T. 
Onions, Oxford Clarendon press, 1888-1933. 

A.Middle English Dictionary, F.H. Stratman, 
Oxford' Clarendon press, ~T69l. 

The Scottish National Dictionary , W. Grant, 
EdTnourgh, 19 $%, parks' A-E. 

The Supplement to the Etymological 
Dictionary of the Scottish Language , John 
Jamieson, University press,'Edinburgh, 1835. 





i i 










French Dictionaries 

Dlotionnaire de La Langue Franoaise , 12. Littre, Librairie 
Hachette, Paris', 1881. 

Dictionnaire d'Ancien Franoais , eel. R. Grandsaignes d f 
Hauteriue," Larousse, Paris, 1947. 

Lexiciue de l f Anoien Francais, Frederio Godefroy, Paris, 





Englische Studien. 

J »E» G, P, 

Journal of English and Germanic 


Modern Language Notes, 


Modern Language Review, 


Modern Philology, 


Notes and Queries, 

P ,H,L 

Publications of the Modern Language 
Association of /unerica. 


Philological Quarterly, 


Review of English Studies, 


Studies in philology. 


Times Literary Supplement. 


Other Abbreviations 




Anglo-Saxon (Morris) 


oirc a . 


Middle English. 


Old English. 


Old French. 


Old Norse. 


past participle. 

pres. p. 

present participle.